Good News: Rat Poisons To Be Restricted in California

Dusk, mist, Great Horned Owl

Dusk, mist, Great Horned Owl

This article is republished from San Francisco Forest Alliance’s website, with permission. Sutro Forest is home to owls and hawks, coyotes, and other predators. It’s also surrounded by neighborhoods, and people may not realize that dealing with their rodent problem could harm wildlife and pets. These restrictions are good news.


As our readers will know, we’ve been concerned about the use of second-generation rat poisons that cause death by slow internal bleeding. The poisoned mice and rats are likely to be captured and eaten by other animals – owls, coyotes, dogs, cats, hawks. When this happens, they can get poisoned too, and we’ve seen two owls die this way: a barn owl and a Great Horned Owl. These poisons are currently available in stores, and anyone can buy and use them – without knowing they could harm wildlife, pets, and even small children who pick up the bait by accident.

So here’s the GOOD NEWS! California is passing legislation restricting the sale of these products only to licensed applicators, which means that they won’t be available in stores for unthinking use by people who don’t realize their effects. (A link to the actual proposed legislation is HERE.)

The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFDOE), which has been working on this for years, sent round a message about it, saying:

‘The California Dept. of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has announced that it is designating the certain hazardous rat baits as “restricted materials.”

These are the products that the US EPA concluded (way back in 2008) pose an “unreasonable risk,” and tried to remove from the consumer market. The active ingredients affected by the DPR decision are brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone.

Restricting pesticide products means that they may only be applied by licensed applicators, or by those meeting the definition of “private applicator.” In essence, you will no longer see these products on the hardware store shelf. Considering all the data that has been amassed on poisonings of pets, wildlife and children, we consider this a very positive step.”

They asked for emails to be sent to the DPR thanking them to

If this is an issue you care about, please send them an email of thanks. We’d also like to thank all the organizations that have been involved in trying to get these restrictions, and all those that have campaigned against these rodenticides.

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