Friday, May 30, 2008

FLASH! Relatively * good news about Rat Poisons

This just received from Alicia King of the American Bird Conservancy, via Glenn Phillips of NYC Audubon:

EPA Announces Decision on Rat Poison

May 29th the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a landmark decision to control the sale and use of rat poisons throughout the United States. The decision is aimed at protecting children, pets, and wildlife.

The most toxic rat poisons will be removed from the consumer market and replaced with less toxic alternatives, which have been shown to be equally effective in controlling rodent populations in cities and farm settings. All over-the-counter sales of these alternatives will be required to be in the form of bait stations to prevent accidental poisoning of children and pets. Licensed pest control operators and livestock ranchers will still be able to purchase the more toxic “second-generation” rodenticides for use only in areas where the products will not be accessible to children.

Dr. Michael Fry, Director of Conservation Advocacy at American Bird Conservancy and the Natural Resources Defense Council have been pressuring the EPA for years to address the threats to wildlife and human health posed by rat poisons.

The EPA began its evaluation of rodenticides in 1998. A lawsuit brought by NRDC over child poisonings, along with the threat of action by American Bird Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife over the poisoning of San Joaquin Kit Foxes and birds of prey, convinced EPA to develop a mitigation plan for both ecological effects and children. The manufacturers of these chemicals fought back, pressuring EPA to accept less stringent, alternative plans, and threatening them with lawsuits.

The final decision is not as strong as the proposed mitigation plan presented by EPA in January 2007, which called for the second generation products (brodifacoum, bromodialone, difethialone and difenicoum) to be labeled “restricted use”, with sales only to licensed pest control operators. Instead, they will still be available through farm supply stores to ranchers.

American Bird Conservancy believes the final decision will be very helpful in reducing the exposure to birds and mammalian scavengers in suburban areas, where they may come into contact with poisoned rodents. Because of budget cuts and overall decreased funding for monitoring programs, the EPA will not have a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of their final decision.

Manufacturers will have 90 days to agree to comply with the new regulations or to voluntarily agree to cancel the registration of their product and remove it from the market. Manufacturers will have 18 months to provide new bait station packaging and test results of package safety to the EPA, and EPA will provide an approval decision within one year. This means registrants must agree to the above conditions by September 4, 2008, and have testing and packaging applications submitted by December 4, 2009. The final decision allows distribution and sale of current products until June 4, 2011.

More information is available at
To view the ABC press release, please visit

Alicia Frances King
American Bird Conservancy
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance

1731 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20009
Note: Why relatively? See three paragraphs from the end of the press release in section beginning with "The final decision..." These happen to be the substances found in the three Riverside nestlings.