In the past year the Environmental Protection Agency has implemented a number of changes in how rodenticides (mouse and rat poisons/baits) are used, both for the pest control industry and the consumer. The reason for the changes was to protect children, pets and wildlife from accidental exposure.

One new requirement for the consumer is that rodenticide products be sold only in contained, protective tamper-resistant bait stations. EPA has also prohibited the sale of loose bait or pellets that cannot be secured. In addition, it has banned the sale of the most toxic “second generation” anticoagulants to consumers. Only licensed pest management professionals may now use these products.

Approximately 10,000 children per year are accidentally exposed to mouse and rat baits (sometimes with catastrophic results). All rodenticide manufacturers, except one, have complied with the new standards. For the manufacturers who complied with the new standards, the EPA has received no reports of children being exposed to bait contained in bait stations.

The maker of D-Con, Reckitt Benkiser, Inc. has refused to comply with EPA’s new safety guidelines. Due to their non-compliance, the EPA announced recently its intent to cancel the registration of 12 different D-Con brand rodent control products. This means, effectively, the banning of these products from store shelves.

The 12 products due to be banned are rodenticides sold to consumers as pellets or powder without the required protective bait stations. Eight of the 12 products also contain one of the four second generation anticoagulants that EPA has banned from consumer use. Until the cancellation is final, retailers can sell and consumers can still use the products.

This move by the EPA restricts consumer choice, but there are other consumer-use products that meet the agency’s more protective standards that are manufactured by companies willing to comply with better safety standards. Since millions of households presently use D-Con products for rodent control, the EPA expects removal of these products will prevent thousands of accidental exposures among children each year.

At Whitworth Pest Solutions, we have always used professional rodent control tactics and we were complying with the new regulations long before they were formally put into effect. In complex rodent infestations, professional pest management is more effective in the long term, rather than resorting to “quick-fixes” such as putting out boxes of D-Con.