The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans in June to ban the sale of “the most toxic” rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products to residential customers. The goal is to better protect cats, dogs, children and wildlife.
“These changes are essential to reduce the thousands of accidental exposures of children that occur every year from rat and mouse control products and also to protect household pets,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
EPA is prohibiting rat and mouse poisons that come in pellet formulations, opting instead for block or paste bait, and requiring those products to be enclosed in bait stations that don’t allow children and cats and dogs to reach the poison.
In addition, EPA intends to ban the sale and distribution of rodenticide products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum directly to residential consumers because of their toxicity and the secondary poisoning hazards to wildlife.
A ban on the non-compliant rodent control products will go into effect once EPA has concluded a cancellation process, which the agency expects will be later this year. Rodenticides containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum will still be available for use in residential settings, but only by professional pest control applicators. The compounds will also be allowed for use in agricultural settings. However, bait stations will be required for all outdoor, above-ground uses to minimize exposure to cats, dogs, children and wildlife.
In 2008, EPA gave producers of rat and mouse poisons until June 4, 2011, to research, develop and register new products that would be safer for cats, dogs, children and wildlife. Since then, the agency has worked with a number of companies to achieve that goal. There are now new products on the market with new bait delivery systems and less toxic baits that are safer for cats, dogs, children and wildlife and still prove effective, according to EPA.
Any rodenticide manufacturers still distributing or selling rodenticide products that do not meet the new risk mitigation goals will face EPA actions to remove those products from the market.
EPA urges consumers to keep the following tips in mind whenever using rodenticides in their homes:
• Always place traps and baits in places where children and cats and dogs cannot reach them;
• Use all products according to label directions and precautions;
• Be sure to select traps that are appropriate to the type and size of rodent (e.g., rat vs. mouse).
For more information on rat and mouse products that meet EPA’s safety standards, visit its website.