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About the New Ban on Rodent Poisons

In March, California legislators voted to ban rodenticides statewide as of July 1. While animal rights activists hailed the ruling, Reckitt Benckiser, the UK-based company that markets a popular over-the-counter rodent killer, sued the state. The suit claims that the state’s action puts residents at risk in two ways: forcing them to use more potentially dangerous neurotoxins to combat rodents, and exposing them to health risks from increased rodent infestation. A spokesperson also expressed “concern” that many Californians would be unable to afford the services of professional pest management companies to address their problems.

ATCO appreciates the concern of suppliers of these products. ATCO is also mindful of the health of its customers, as well as that of their pets and wildlife. In fact, we have seen the need to move in this direction for a long time. Rodenticides like D-con containing newly-banned brodifacoum, bromadiolone, as well as difenacoum and difethialone are dangerous in two ways. First of all, there is danger from direct contact. Children and pets who discover supplies of products are at greatest risk. Secondarily, predators like hawks, owls, foxes and even domestic cats and dogs that consume poisoned rodents can be poisoned as well. For years, WildCare in San Rafael has advocated the banning of rodenticides for this very reason. A case in point: a school in central San Rafael was home to a family of barn owls. Students loved looking up into the branches of the giant redwood on campus to see the snow-white babies staring down at them. Then one day there were two small carcasses on the grass. The owls had eaten poisoned rodents caught nearby. The school itself had previously stopped using rodenticides. Neighbors had not. What a sad fate for the owls and a hard lesson for students.

As part of our Eco-Wise philosophy, we utilize Integrated Pest Management techniques that are the least dangerous to everyone and everything. As contractors for Marin County, we use no rodenticide whatsoever. In other instances, we strive to control rodents and other pests without the use of harmful chemicals. Trapping has proven effective against rodents, for instance. While follow-up may be required to empty traps on a periodic basis, there is no risk to humans, pets or wildlife. We also help homeowners by sealing buildings against rodent infestation. As ATCO president Richard Estrada recently told the Marin Independent Journal, “If you can seal a home or structure so rodents can’t get inside, in essence you’ve solved the rodent problem.”

In that way, no expensive ongoing pest management is required.

At ATCO we see the ban on rodenticides as a positive step, one that is good for humans and the environment as well. If you have questions or problems with rodents, please contact us. We are Diamond-Certified experts for these and all your pest management needs.

For more information please check out this article from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pressrls/2014/140530.htm