News & Info
THE NEW FACE OF RAT POISONSeptember 23, 2016
In 2008, the EPA planned a restriction on second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (rat poison). Anticoagulants prevent the blood from clotting properly and lead to death if not treated. They also instituted that bait must be in bait stations. The reasoning behind this move from the EPA was intended to decrease accidental poisoning in wildlife, pets and children which is commendable. With these changes, the idea was to only target unwanted rodents and not animals that prey on these animals especially hawks, owls and eagles. Unfortunately, these changes have not had the intended effect. Problems include people not using the bait stations and the increase in other chemicals being used as bait.
In order to comply with the EPA, some companies have switched to using bromethalin, and the number of companies using this poison is increasing. Bromethalin is a potent neurotoxin that is very difficult to near impossible to treat. The other chemical that is being used is cholecalciferol which causes an increase in calcium leading to multi-organ failure. Treatment must be soon after an animal has eaten these chemicals and consists of extensive decontamination. There is no antidote to these types of rodenticides.
First generation anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin, diphacinone) are still available as rodenticides. These products are treatable with decontamination and the administration of vitamin K for several weeks. This is a much safer type of rodenticide than the newer products. If rodenticides are being used around your home, please make sure you know what type of chemical is present. Do not use bromethalin and cholecalciferol containing products. Also, make sure that all bait blocks are in bait stations and well away from pet areas.