EPA Bans Many Household Rat and Mouse Poisons

By Susan Jones | June 7, 2011 | 12:03 PM EDT

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(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Tuesday that it plans 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 children, pets 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.

The EPA also will require that all rat and mouse poisons marketed to residential customers be enclosed in bait stations that don’t allow children and pets to reach the poison.

The EPA says children are particularly at risk for exposure to rat and mouse poisons because the products are typically placed on floors, where children can find them and sometimes eat them.

Each year, poison control centers receive between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under the age of six being exposed to these types of products, the EPA said.

In 2008, EPA gave producers of rat and mouse poisons until June 4, 2011 to research, develop and register new products that are safer for children, pets and wildlife. Those new products have enclosed bait delivery systems and less toxic baits but still provide effective rodent control, the EPA said.

While many companies have agreed to adopt the new safety measures, “a handful of companies” are refusing to comply. The EPA said it will "initiate cancellation proceedings” against non-compliant products to remove them from the market.

In addition to requiring protective bait stations and barring pellet formulations, EPA intends to ban the sale and distribution of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum directly to residential consumers because of their toxicity and the secondary poisoning hazards to wildlife.

Those poisons will be available for use in residential settings, but only by professional pest control applicators.

The compounds mentioned above also will be allowed for use in agricultural settings, but protective bait stations will be required for all outdoor, above-ground uses.

The EPA news release offers tips on avoiding rat and mouse infestations, including sealing holes in the home and cleaning up rodent food sources.