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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Rodents' Category


27
Feb

Poisoning Feral Hogs Raises Safety and Environmental Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2017)  Texas has been dealing with a feral hog issue for many years, however recently Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller approved the use of a toxic rodenticide in an effort to control feral hog populations, a decision hunters and trappers oppose because the pesticide will poison prey and wreak havoc on ecosystems where the hogs live. The estimated population of the feral hog population is about 1.5 million in the state of Texas, where they can cause extensive damage to property, crops, and native wildlife. Wild hogs have been considered to be one of the most destructive invasive species in the U.S. The feral hog population, close to six million, span 39 states and four Canadian provinces. Commissioner Miller, in announcing the widespread use of toxic pesticide referred to the problem as the “feral hog apocalypse.” Damage caused by wild hogs has been estimated to reach well into the millions. Smithsonian Magazine has reported the annual damage caused by feral hog populations to be around $400 million. The Texas Parks and Wildlife website states that hogs are opportunistic omnivores.  Feral hogs enjoy eating domestic agricultural crops, such as corn, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupe. They can cause […]

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04
Jan

Death of Four Texas Children Linked to Inadequately Regulated Pesticide, Follows Other Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2017) The New Year saw its first pesticide-related tragedy yesterday when four children, ranging in age from 7-17, died from a toxic pesticide treatment on their house in Amarillo, Texas. The pesticide at issue, aluminum phosphide, was illegally applied under a mobile home where at least ten people were living. The chemical, classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a restricted use pesticide (RUP), is restricted for use by certified applicators (and those under their supervision) and it is a violation to use it within 100 feet of residential structures. CNN reports that a family member used water to try and wash away the pesticide after it was applied, and the combination of water and aluminum phosphide increased the release of toxic phosphine gas. The incident demonstrates the deficiency of managing risks of highly toxic chemicals by labeling them “restricted use.” It has been Beyond Pesticides’ position that chemicals with aluminum phosphide’s level of toxicity should not be available on the market, even with restrictions. In making regulatory determinations on pesticide allowances, advocates have urged EPA to calculate the reality of misuse and accidents, instead of assuming 100% compliance with product label instructions. With this approach, the agency would […]

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25
Mar

California Bans Controversial d-CON Products as EPA Stalled by Manufacturer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2014) Highly toxic rodenticides linked to the poisoning of pets, wildlife and young children will no longer be allowed on store shelves in California starting July 1 of this year. According to rules adopted last week by California’ Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), “second generation anticoagulant rodenticides,” including the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone found in d-CON brand products, will be classified as California-restricted materials, and only allowed to be used by certified pesticide applicators. Attempts by the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) to remove these products from store shelves nationwide stalled last year after the manufacturer of d-CON rodenticides, Reckitt Benckiser, sued the agency to delay implementation of the cancellation process. In July of 2011, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife requested CDPR restrict the use of anticoagulant rodenticides due to numerous incidents involving direct and indirect poisoning of wildlife. Anticoagulants impair blood clotting and eventually cause internal bleeding in target animals. However, rodents can feed on poisoned bait multiple times before death (some are even resistant to the chemicals now), and as a result their carcasses may contain residues that are many times the lethal dose. Poisoning can occur to nontarget species when […]

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01
Feb

EPA Moves to Cancel d-CON Rodent Killing Products

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its decision to go ahead with the cancellation of 12 rodenticide products which posed “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.” The decision came after manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser’s refusal to adopt EPA safety standards for its d-CON mouse and rat control products. The action follows EPA’s Notice of Intent to Cancel (NOIC), issued in 2011, to Reckitt Benckiser and two other companies, Liphatech and Spectrum Group Division of United Industries Corporation, which voluntarily removed eight of their products from the market and were therefore not listed for cancelation by EPA. EPA requires that rodenticide products sold to individual consumers are in tamper-resistant bait stations, rather than in pellet or powder form. Additionally, EPA recognizes the risks that rodenticide products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum pose to wildlife and will no longer allow them to be sold or distributed in the consumer market. However, use by professional applicators and in agriculture will still be permitted as long as they are in bait stations. EPA says this will reduce the amount of product in the environment, providing additional protection for wildlife from poisonings by these more toxic and persistent products. […]

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09
Jan

Lower Asthma Rates in Boston Attributed to IPM in Public Housing

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2013) Boston health officials say new city data indicate that asthma incidences have dropped nearly by half since 2005. This is attributed to Boston Housing Authority (BHA) and Boston Public Health Commission implementation of an integrated pest management  (IPM)  program in low-income housing to reduce the number of cockroaches and rodents, while reducing the use of pesticides, which, along with cockroach and rodent droppings, can aggravate asthma symptoms. The data, covering 2006 through 2010, show the rate of adults who reported having asthma symptoms in the authority’s units dropped from 23.6 percent in 2006 to 13 percent in 2010, the latest year available. At the same time, asthma rates in other low-income housing in Boston, not run by BHA, remained relatively unchanged. Public health analysts studied data from a biennial telephone survey of Boston adults between 2006 and 2010. The survey asks residents a wide range of questions, and analysts compared the answers from roughly 300 housing authority residents to others not living in city-run housing. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, health authorities found extremely high infestations of roaches and rodents in BHA buildings, and equally concerning, housing leaders were seeing desperate residents resorting […]

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05
Nov

Growing “Super Rat” Population Is Resistant to Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2012) An ongoing study in the United Kingdom has found that in areas of southern England up to 75% of the rat population is potentially resistant to the common rodenticides warfarin, bromadiolone, and difenacoum. Pesticide resistance was documented in rats as early as the 1950’s. Common rodenticides used in homes already pose a high risk to human and animal health, but as more rodents become resistant to these pesticides individuals face the greater danger of pest control companies using higher doses of more lethal chemicals to deal with “super rats.” The rodenticides being tested in this study are anticoagulant pesticides that work by blocking vitamin K-dependent synthesis of the blood clotting substance prothrombin. These chemicals cause the animal to bleed to death internally. Not only are these chemicals toxic to mammals, but they are often used in dangerous loose bait and pellet traps. These traps put children at particular risk for exposure because the products are typically placed on floors, and young children sometimes put bait pellets in their mouths. The American Association of Poison Control Centers annually receives between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under the age of six being exposed to these types […]

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09
Aug

Groups Urge EPA to Ban Dangerous Rat Poisons

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2012) On Monday, Beyond Pesticides joined with 23 public health and environmental advocacy groups to send a letter to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging it to follow through with its original plan to cancel the sale of most toxic rat poisons to residential consumers. In 2008, after over a decade of these products being on the market and widely available to consumers, EPA gave manufactures three years to comply with new risk mitigation requirements for rat poisons. However, the companies Reckitt Benckiser, Liphatech, and Spectrum Brands, producers of d-Con, Rid-a-Rat, and Hot Shot each decided to flout EPA requirements and ignore compliance with the regulations. The letter urges EPA to follow through with its ”˜Notice of Intent to Cancel’. It also instructs the agency to issue an order for emergency suspension of these products under FIFRA section 6(c), based on evidence of imminent hazard to human health and to wildlife. While the cancellation of these products will better safeguard the health of children, pets, and wildlife, EPA’s risk mitigation requirements do not go far enough to ensure protections for vulnerable populations. Children are particularly at risk for exposure because young children sometimes put bait […]

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09
Jun

EPA Takes Actions to Reduce Risk From Rat and Mouse Poisons

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2011) Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is moving to ban the sale of most toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products, to residential consumers decades after these products were first introduced to the public. Though these rules will better protect children, pets and wildlife, the changes do not go far enough for vulnerable populations, because they will still be allowed by pesticide applicators and in agricultural settings. 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 the age of six being exposed to these types of products. Beyond Pesticides urges consumers not to use poisons for rodent control indoors, but rather advocates the use of traps and nonchemical exclusion techniques that eliminate food and water sources and entryways. In 2008, EPA released its final risk mitigation decision for ten rodenticides, with new measures intended to protect children and the public from accidental poisonings […]

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15
Dec

Rat Poisons Continue to Threaten Children

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2010) Every year, more than 10,000 kids are poisoned by rodenticides (pesticides made to kill rodents) and virtually all of the calls to U.S. poison control centers concern children under six. New rules and restrictions set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will go into effect next June in an attempt to prevent incidents involving children, but do not go far enough to protect children or wildlife. EPA has known for a generation that children have easy access to these super-toxic rat poisons. Every year, more than 10,000 kids are getting a hold of them, with Black and Hispanic children living below the poverty line being disproportionately affected. Records show that the EPA is aware that children have been getting into these poisons in significant numbers, according to data since 1983. Between 2004 and 2008, U.S. poison control centers continued to receive 10,000 to 14,000 calls about the rat killers annually. EPA has estimated that these incidents reported to poison control centers probably account for only about one-fourth of all exposures. On average, about 3,700 of these cases are treated by medical professionals each year, according to reports of the American Association of Poison Control […]

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08
Apr

EPA Sets New Restrictions on Phosphine Fumigants to Reduce Poisonings

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring new restrictions on aluminum and magnesium phosphide products in an attempt to better protect people, especially children, from dangerous exposures. The new restrictions prohibit all uses of the products around residential areas and increase buffer zones for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals from 15 feet to 100 feet. Human exposure to these toxic chemicals, though slightly minimized, would nevertheless continue because of their continued availability for use on athletic fields and playgrounds, around non-residential buildings, and in agricultural production. Phosphide fumigants are known to be highly acutely toxic when ingested or inhaled. Symptoms of mild to moderate acute exposure include nausea, abdominal pain, tightness in chest, excitement, restlessness, agitation and chills. Symptoms of more severe exposure include diarrhea, cyanosis, difficulty breathing, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, tachycardia (rapid pulse) and hypotension (low blood pressure), dizziness and/or death. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are used primarily to control insects in stored grain and other agricultural commodities. They also are used to control burrowing rodents in outdoor agricultural and other non-domestic areas. The fumigants are restricted to use by specially trained pesticide applicators. […]

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11
Feb

Inadequately Restricted Pesticide Implicated in Children’s Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2010) Investigators are tying the deaths of 4-year and 15-month old sisters in Layton, Utah to a pesticide that was used to kill voles, small burrowing rodents, in their family’s front yard. The 4-year-old, Rebecca Toone, died Saturday and her sister Rachel died on Tuesday after the family was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms then discharged. The girls went back to the hospital when they fell ill again after returning home. The cause of the deaths has not yet been determined, according to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office, and toxicology tests are expected to take up to eight weeks to complete. However, investigators say that the chemical may have wafted into the family’s home after an exterminator dropped Fumitoxin, aluminum phosphide, pellets in burrow holes in the lawn on Friday. Upon exposure to moisture in the air, the pellets immediately decompose to phosphine gas. The death of these children and the poisoning of the family raise serious issues about the adequacy of the pesticide’s label restrictions, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and their enforceability. In the case of aluminum phosphide, EPA has allowed the use that led to these avoidable deaths after proposing to […]

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04
Jun

EPA Tightens Controls for Ten Rodenticides, Leaves Major Exposure Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2008) On May 29, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final risk mitigation decision for ten rodenticides, which outlines new measures it says will help protect children and the public from accidental poisonings as well as to decrease exposures to pets and wildlife from rodent-control products. However, because the decision omits key uses, allows continued applicator use of dangerous formulations, and recognizes a lack of product efficacy without a fully integrated program (yet does not require it on the label), environmentalists feel the final risk mitigation decision falls short of adequately protecting the health of people, wildlife and the environment.EPA is requiring that ten rodenticides used in bait products marketed to consumers be enclosed in bait stations, making the pesticide inaccessible to children and pets, and is also prohibiting the sale of loose bait, such as pellets, for use in homes. These ten rodenticides are: ”¢ Brodifacoum ”¢ Bromadiolone ”¢ Bromethalin ”¢ Chlorophacinone ”¢ Cholecalciferol ”¢ Difenacoum ”¢ Difethialone ”¢ Diphacinone ”¢ Warfarin ”¢ Zinc phosphide Exposure to children is also a major concern for these chemicals. According to the 2006 Annual Report of the American Association Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data […]

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