Animal advocates and environmentalists are celebrating an announcement that the makers of d-CON will stop producing a number of super-toxic rat poisons and pull products from store shelves by early next year.
The announcement came as part of an agreement that was reached between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Reckitt Benckiser Inc. to cancel 12 d-CON products that don’t currently comply with EPA safety standards. After fighting the EPA’s efforts to get rid of these products, the company has finally agreed to voluntarily stop production by the end of the year and stop distribution to retailers by March 31, 2015.
Environmental, public-health and animal advocacy groups have been fighting to get these products pulled from the consumer market for years over concerns about their inhumane nature and the risks they pose to wildlife, pets and children.
“This is a significant victory for families, pets and wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “While the fight isn’t over until all of these hazardous products are off the market, this decision keeps the worst of the worst products from residential consumers.”
The poisons in question are known as second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR), which can be fatal in a single dose, but may take days to kill their victims who eventually die a horrific death from internal bleeding. Because they work slowly, victims may eat large quantities over days and in turn become a threat to predators and scavengers as they make their way through the food chain.
In addition to causing cruel deaths, the use of both first and second generation poisons have also been documented to cause other problems for wildlife, including chronic mange. Earlier this spring a popular mountain lion, known as P-22, gave another face to the problems our use of anticoagulant rodenticides causes wildlife.
At the end of 2013 P-22 was captured by photographer Steve Winter for a spread in National Geographic where he looked healthy and rather majestic with the Hollywood sign in the background. Just weeks later he was found with mange and poison in his system. This is what he looked like:
Sadly, P-22 wasn’t, and isn’t, alone. According to the National Park Service, of 140 bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions evaluated, 88 percent tested positive for one or more anti-coagulant compounds, while two other mountain lions have also died from rodenticide poisoning during a 12-year study.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, still other studies have documented these poisons in more than 70 percent of wildlife tested, including endangered species, and were found to have caused, on average, more than 160 severe poisonings of pets annually over a 10-year period. The EPA’s data also shows that every year up to 10,000 children are accidentally exposed to these poisons in their homes.
Those opposed to the use of these anticoagulant rodenticides are pointing people to safe, effective and humane alternatives that range from using humane traps and encouraging natural predators to simply eliminating food sources, among other methods.
For more information about alternatives to rat poison, visit SafeRodentControl.org.
Photo credit: Thinkstock