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Loose Mouse Bait Has Been Banned by EPA

By Chris Williams on March 25, 2013.

Poison label signAre you still using loose rodent bait pellets in your home? Maybe in one of those little yellow boxes that you pop open and stick in a corner of the kitchen. Did you know that EPA outlawed the sale of that kind of rodent bait almost two years ago? In a fall 2012 survey of professional pest control companies, 38% reported that they often see loose rodent bait in their customers’ homes. Only 9% reported seeing bait inside child-resistant bait stations.

After a 3-year phase-in period, EPA mandated that, effective June 4, 2011, loose rodent bait could no longer be sold to the general public. All mouse and rat bait must be sold as either a paste bait or a bait block. And all baits must be sold with a protective EPA-approved bait station to keep children and pets from reaching the bait. Existing stocks were allowed to be sold and used until depleted. The impetus for this decision was EPA’s commitment to prevent child pesticide poisoning. Approximately 10,000 children a year are accidentally exposed to mouse and rat baits, sometimes with dire results.

Pest control professionals have been required to use tamper-resistant bait stations for many years. If rodent bait cannot be placed in a location that is inaccessible to children and pets, professionals must place it inside a special type of bait box which children cannot access. The labels on all of the rodent baits that we use carry that specific use statement that is enforced by law. But, until recently, there has been no such requirement for rodent baits that are sold to the public for use in homes, other buildings, or yards.

It’s almost certain that very few homeowners have heard of this new EPA requirement. It’s up to the manufacturers of the rodent baits to make the changes in packaging and labeling so that consumers are no longer able to purchase and use loose bait. All rodenticide manufacturers, except one, have complied with EPA’s new required safety standards for consumer products. For companies that complied with the new standards in 2011, EPA has received no reports of children being exposed to bait that is contained in bait stations. Unfortunately, D-Con, a giant manufacturer of rodent bait, has refused to make the changes required by EPA. As a result, on January 30, 2013, EPA announced its intent to cancel the registration of 12 different D-Con brand rodent control products. These products are still being sold to consumers as pellets or powders without the required protective bait stations. Eight of the D-Con products also contain a pesticide that EPA has banned from consumer use. The D-Con manufacturer has requested a hearing which means the products can still be sold during the process.

If you still have mouse bait pellets or meal bait in your garage or shed, you should discard them, or purchase a “child-resistant” rodenticide bait station to hold the baits. If you see D-Con loose bait products for sale on store shelves, know that these products do not comply with EPA’s guidelines for child safety. There are at least 30 other rodent control baits for sale that meet EPA’s new, more protective standards. Choose one of these or call a professional. We always put safety first.

Photo credit: tamanegi28 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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