On June 7, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a ban on the sale to residential consumers of the most toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products. The purpose of the ban is to better protect children, pets and wildlife.

The agency is also requiring all newly registered rat and mouse poisons marketed to residential consumers be enclosed in bait stations that render the pesticide inaccessible to children and pets. Wildlife that consume bait or poisoned rodents will also be protected by the EPA’s actions.

In addition, products marketed to residential consumers may contain no more than 1 pound of rodenticide bait.

While several pesticide-active ingredients will still be allowed on the homeowner market, products marketed to residential consumers will no longer contain the most toxic and persistent pesticide-active ingredients, that is, the second generation anticoagulants brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone. Products containing these active ingredients will only be available for commercial use and for residential use by professional pest control operators.

Children are particularly at risk for exposure to rat and mouse poisons because the products are typically placed on floors, and because young children sometimes place bait pellets in their mouths. The American Association of Poison Control Centers annually receives between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under 6 being exposed to these types of products.

These new products are safer to children as well as pets and wildlife, but still provide effective rodent control for residential consumers. They will offer some combination of resistance to tampering by children and dogs, and also to weather.

There have been many reports of pets and wildlife dying from possible rodenticide. Just last week, there was a report of 10 unexplained dog poisonings in San Diego County.

While many companies that produce rat and mouse poison products have agreed to adopt the new safety measures, a handful of companies have advised the EPA that they do not plan to do so. Consequently, the EPA intends to initiate cancellation proceedings under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, against certain noncompliant products marketed by the following companies to remove them from the market:

  • Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (makers of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas rodent control products);
  • Spectrum Group (makers of Hot Shot rodent control products); and
  • Liphatech Inc. (makers of Generation, Maki, and Rozol rodent control products).

The following Website lists the products, which meet EPA’s new rodenticide goals, www.epa.gov/pesticides/mice-and-rats/rodent-bait-station.html.