Daily News Archive
From April 26, 2006                                                                                                        

Partnership Sponsors Rodent and Vector Control in DC
(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2006) The District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with The National Zoo, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP and University of the District of Columbia will sponsor the Rodent and Vector Control Academy on April 26-28, 2006. The first ever in the District of Columbia, the Academy is designed to enhance the District's rodent program by teaching the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to staff from government agencies, hospitals and universities

The Rodent and Vector Control Academy will provide the District with better tools to address rodents while minimizing the health risk posed by them. The partnership created between DOH, EPA, The National Zoo, Beyond Pesticides and the University of the District of Columbia demonstrates the importance of local, state, federal, public and private partners working together to manage pests without creating the public health problems associated with pesticide use. Pesticide use has been linked to respiratory illnesses such as asthma, neurological problems, learning disabilities, cancer and other chemical-induced illnesses.

According to a Washington Post article in 2003, the National Zoo experienced several issues related to rodents. In 2004, two red pandas died at the National Zoo after eating rat poison that had been buried in their yard because of a chronic problem with rodents (See Daily News). With the poisonings at the zoo, rat poison cases that involve children and the increase in the rodent population in DC,.iIt is apparent that current rodent and vector control practices are not working.

While DOH recognizes the need to manage rodent populations to protect public health, the department is acutely aware of the potential health and environmental hazards associated with a pesticide-intensive approach.

“Because rodents share human environments, use of rodenticides poses an inherent risk of exposure to people, particularly children and their pets, as well as other non-target species, therefore, it is important for municipalities such as DC to consider alternative nontoxic approaches first in addressing rodent control.” said Michele Roberts, project director of Beyond Pesticides, a national information and advocacy group

Robert Corrigan Ph.D, an expert in the field of pest management, rodent control and the principles of IPM, will conduct the training activities. According to Dr. Corrigan, “We have rodent control techniques but we don’t have any quantitative-orientated strategies.” Known world-wide for his teachings on the principles of IPM, Dr. Corrigan is also the author of "Rodent Control: A Practical Guide For Pest Management Professionals" and has published more than 75 technical publications in pest control.