Legislation to Ban the Use of Destructive “Rat Poisons” Moves Forward
SACRAMENTO – Legislation to ban certain “rat poisons”, or rodenticides, due to the unintended destructive downstream consequences on people, animals and wildlife passed the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee late Tuesday afternoon. The bill, AB 1788, by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would ban Second General Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) for use in the state and ban First Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (FGARs) on state owned property. If passed, California would be the first state to ban these products.
“After many years of studying the impacts of these chemicals, we know that these poisons pose a serious threat to our public health and to wildlife,” said Bloom. “Earlier efforts to limit their use have done little to stem the threat so our only recourse is an immediate ban.”
Necropsy data from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and other scientists has demonstrated that unnecessary poisonings continue to pose a rampant threat to pets and wildlife. These impacts have continued despite efforts in 2014 by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to limit their use to licensed pest control applicators and legislation in 2014 by Assemblymember Bloom to ban the application in wildlife areas and parks.
The United States California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also documented anticoagulant rodenticide residues in 27 avian species and 17 mammalian species, some of which are endangered species such as Fishers, San Joaquin Kit Fox and the Northern Spotted Owl. Depending on the species, 70% to 90% of the populations of predator species such as raptors (owls, hawks, and eagles), foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions have been exposed to high levels of anticoagulant rodenticides throughout the state.
Rodenticides pose a serious public health threat to children and pets as well. Between 1999 and 2009, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) received reports of an average of 17,000 human exposures to rodenticides each year, with 85% of these exposures, (i.e., approximately 15,000 per year), occurring to children less than 6 years of age. Between 1999 and 2003, approximately 3,617 of these cases per year were treated in a health care facility, and 17 per year were treated in an Intensive Care Unit.
For pets and domestic animals, between 1999 and 2009, data shows that rodenticides caused about 160 severe (death or major effect) domestic animal incidents each year, which the EPA believes is a significant underestimate. In 2014, the AAPCC reported 50,696 dog poisonings due to rodenticides.
The bill, supported by the Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Raptors are the Solution (RATS), and a number of other environmental and public health organizations, now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Richard Bloom represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.