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08
Sep

EPA Cancels Prairie Dog Poison in Four States; Moves Forward with Rodenticide Actions

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final cancellation order on August 8, 2011 for Rozol Prairie Dog Bait following a court order issued on July 27, 2011, which finds that EPA failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). As required by the court order, the blood-thinning pesticide Rozol (chlorophacinone) is no longer allowed for use in four states, including Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, as of August 8, 2011 pending the completion of the endangered species consultation with the two agencies.

Rozol is an anti-coagulant rodenticide in the chemical class of indandiones. It works by blocking vitamin K-dependent synthesis of the blood clotting substance prothrombin. Animals that ingest anti-coagulant rodenticides suffer from the following list of immediate toxic effects: nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood in urine and feces; bruises due to ruptured blood vessels; and skin damage.

Rozol may still be used in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. However, Lipatech, the manufacturer of Rozol may not sell or distribute existing stocks in its possession and control unless they have been relabeled to eliminate the portion of the label authorizing use in the four canceled states.

Ron Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas, told Salina Journal that he is discouraged by the order and is concerned that the report from FWS will only focus on species on the endangered species list while overlooking other at-risk species in need of conservation. The group has been active in reintroducing the endangered black-footed ferret in Logan County, Kansas.

Meanwhile, EPA also announced that it is moving forward with actions introduced in June to ban the sale to consumers of the most toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as consumer rodenticide products that use loose bait and pellets.

EPA is convening a meeting of the agency’s science advisory committee this fall to obtain input on a Notice of Intent to Cancel (NOIC) certain rodenticide products that have not adopted the agency’s new safety measures. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) will consider the effect of the proposed cancellations on health and the environment, and will review the scientific assessment underlying EPA’s NOIC. The NOIC will discuss why the agency believes certain rodenticide products no longer meet the pesticide statute’s registration standard and may cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment when used in accordance with the label and accepted widespread practice. EPA will seek comments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the SAP prior to issuing the NOIC to the manufacturers of the nonconforming rodenticide products.

The public will have an opportunity to provide comment at the FIFRA SAP meeting, which is scheduled to be held on November 29 through December 1, 2011 in EPA’s Potomac Yard South Building in Arlington, Virginia. For details, see EPA’s announcement of this meeting in the September 7, 2011 Federal Register.

EPA gave manufacturers of rodenticide products three years to develop and adopt the risk reduction measures. All but three manufacturers have done so voluntarily (Reckitt Benckiser Inc. makers of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas; Spectrum Group makers of Hot Shot; and Liphatech Inc. makers of Generation, Maki, and Rozol rodent control products). EPA will pursue cancellation against these manufacturers’ affected products in accordance with FIFRA.

There are several shortcomings to the new restrictions. Human and wildlife exposures to these toxic chemicals, though slightly minimized, would nevertheless continue because of their continued availability for use in agricultural production and to pest control operators. These rodenticides will still be available for use in residential settings, but only by professional pest control applicators, which means residential exposures continue, albeit at slightly lower levels. The compounds will also be allowed for use in agricultural settings; however, bait stations will be required for all outdoor, above-ground uses to reduce exposure to children, pets and wildlife.

Beyond Pesticides believes that integrated pest managemeny (IPM) is a vital tool that aids in the rediscovery of non-toxic methods to control rodents and facilitates the transition toward a pesticide-free (and healthier) world. Sanitation, structural repairs, mechanical and biological control, and pest population monitoring are some IPM methods that can be undertaken to control rodents. For more information on IPM, visit our IPM program page and our Safer Choice page.

To learn more about rodenticides, visit Beyond Pesticides’ Rodenticides fact sheet.

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