Last week we discussed the dangers of bromethalin, a neurotoxic rodenticide, rat poison that targets the brain
Click here to read that post.
One might read about those dangers and respond, “Well, if it’s so dangerous, no big deal, I will just continue to use conventional anticoagulant mouse poison.”
If the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has its way, that switch may not be an option.
In 2008 EPA began “risk mitigation reforms,” and those reforms became law in 2011. The reforms require manufacturers to stop using long-acting anticoagulants (LAACs) in rodenticide (mouse poison and rat poison) intended for residential use. Such products could still be used by licensed professional pest control companies.
EPA contends that LAACs “pose unreasonable risks to children, pets and wildlife.” Click here to read about rodenticide poisoning.
However, enforcement of the ban would leave private individuals access only to warfarin (a short-acting but less-effective anticoagulant rodenticide), bromethalin (for which there is no antidote) and hiring a professional pest control company (which low-income Americans may be unable to afford).
No less expert on toxicology than Ahna Brutlad, D.V.M., MS, DABT (Diplomate, American Board of Toxicology) and Assistant Director of the Pet Poison Helpline, tells DVM360, formerly DVM Newsmagazine, the EPA regulations are not going in the proper direction. “I’d like to see long-acting anticoagulants kept on the market for in-home use for consumers. I think that is the safest option in regards to pets and wildlife exposure.”
Industry leader Reckitt Benckiser, manufacturer of d-Con, is challenging EPA, requesting a hearing on EPA’s ban on LAACs. EPA granted Reckitt Benckiser a registration for a tamper-proof bait station, but would not allow them to market the bait station with LAACs inside.
Part of EPA’s goal in the new regulations is tamper-resistant enclosures for all baits, making baits pose “less risk to children, domestic animals and nontarget wildlife,” EPA says.
Reckitt Benckiser, though, says that enclosures make it more difficult to control rodent infestations.
Dr. Brutlag concurs, adding that the enclosures are not very effective in preventing poisonings because “We ‘ve found that when animals are exposed to new risk mitigation products a large percent are getting into the bait itself.” She goes on to tell DVM360 that a plastic bag of rodenticide blocks intended for refill-insertion into tamper-resistant bait stations can hold up to a pound of blocks. Not only do dogs chew through the bait stations, they are attracted to the loose blocks if consumers put them out unprotected. “…they seem to eat as much as they can,” she says. “Dogs will eat anything.”
Unlike rats. Dr. Brutlag points out that many target animals are suspicious of the bait stations, making rodent control even less effective.
Reckitt Benckiser’s request for a hearing means that the public can continue buying long-acting anticoagulant rodenticides until EPA rules on their request.
RODENT DANGERS TO PUBLIC HEALTH
Why is rodent control is so important to public health? So what if someone has a mouse or two in the house?
So what, indeed!
Mice and rats can carry fleas that transmit plague. Did you know that, according to nih.gov, ten to twenty people die of plague every year right here in the United States? The same plague that once nearly wiped out Europe.
Rodents can also carry (and transmit to people) leptospirosis, tularemia, Salmonellosis, rat-bite fever and ticks that carry Lyme disease, as well as more than a dozen other diseases.
See you next week, Dr. Randolph.
Our thanks to DVM360 as a source for parts of this post.