Monday, June 2, 2014

12 d-Con Rat and Mouse Poison Unsafe for Consumer Use

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached agreement with Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (Rickitt) to phase out 12 d-CON mouse and rat poison products that do not currently comply with EPA safety standards. These standards require that rodent poisons sold to consumers be pellets, solid and granular bait be secured in bait stations are tamper proof and to be first generation anticoagulants. EPA prohibits the sale of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum to residential consumers because the danger of misuse and the resulting risk to wildlife and children.

There are three types of rodenticide products. First-generation anticoagulants (warfarin, chlorophacinone, and diphacinone), second-generation anticoagulants (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone), and non-anticoagulants (bromethalin, cholecalciferol and zinc phosphide). All the anticoagulants interfere with blood clotting, and death results from excessive bleeding in about 5-7 days. The second-generation anticoagulants are especially hazardous because they are highly toxic, and they persist a long time in body tissues. The second-generation anticoagulants are designed to be toxic in a single feeding, but since time-to-death is still 5-7 days, rodents can feed multiple times before death, resulting in carcasses containing residues that may be many times the lethal dose. Predators or scavengers that feed on those poisoned rodents may then also be poisoned. The non-anticoagulants have differing ways of affecting pests. Bromethalin is a nerve toxicant that causes respiratory distress. Cholecalciferol is vitamin D3, which in small dosages is needed for good health in most mammals, but in massive doses is toxic, especially to rodents. Zinc phosphide causes the release of toxic phosphine gas in the stomach.

The d-CON pellets were a second generation anticoagulant sold loose and often placed in open trays. Open anticoagulant bait products have been responsible for at least 10,000 accidental ingestions by babies and young children over the years. Few of these documented cases were serious because the amounts consumed were often too small to make children very sick and the children could be treated with vitamin K, which can serve as an antidote to first generation anticoagulants and possibly very low doses of second generation anticoagulants. The second generation anticoagulants were also documented to affect wildlife that consume the poisoned mice, including golden eagles, northern spotted owls and San Joaquin kit foxes. The State of California banned these products earlier this year based on that documentation.

Rickitt has agreed to stop production by the end of the year and stop distribution to retailers by March 31, 2015, and replace the existing second generation anticoagulants products with new bait products would continue to using first generation anticoagulants for which Vitamin K is a readily available antidote. The products will not contain neurotoxins. The new products will be housed in protective bait stations. In February 2013 the EPA made the determination that 12 products produced by Reckitt did not meet current safety standards and issued a Notice of Intent to Cancel their registration (which allows sale of the product). Reckitt challenged this determination through the EPA’s administrative hearing process and lost. Reckitt then decided to voluntarily cancel the 12 d-CON products and withdraw its challenge of the Agency’s denials of applications for registration of two other d-CON products.

The cancelled products are:

Remaining on the market are: d-CON Bait Station XIV, d-CON Bait Station XIII, d-Con Bait Station XI, and d-CON Bait Station XII.


The major provisions of the agreement between the EPA and Reckitt are:
  • Production of the 12 d-CON rat and mouse poison products will be phased out and stop by December 31, 2014.
  • Reckitt will cease distribution of existing stocks of these products by March 31, 2015.
  • During the phase-out period Reckitt will only produce quantities of these products to satisfy previously existing contracts and agreements.
  • Retailers will be permitted keep the products on the shelves until stocks are depleted, and end users will be permitted to use them until exhausted. 
If you have mouse or rat poison checks the product labels to see what you have. It is legal for consumers to use the 12 d-CON mouse and rat poison products, provided they follow all label directions and precautions. If you have small children or pets in the house, just don’t. Certainly, do not use the products outside. Consumers who wish to dispose of any of the d-CON mouse and rat poison products listed above should contact their state or local waste disposal program for collection programs for hazardous materials. In Prince William, the landfill has a hazardous material program. These pesticides are harmful to the wildlife, so consumers who have opened containers should not discard them outdoors or dispose of them in sinks or toilets.

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