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Photo by Tom Grey

Don't Take the Bait

Rodenticides Harm People, Pets and Wildlife

SCVAS joined with parents, pet advocates, and other environmental groups such as Raptors are the Solution in calling on businesses and residents to voluntarily cease use of twenty rodenticide products deemed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to pose "unreasonable" risks to human health and the environment.

Each year in the United States 12,000 to 15,000 children under the age of 6 are exposed to harmful rat control products. Pets and wildlife that eat these products become sick or die. In 2004, the EPA found more than 300 documented wildlife reports of rodenticides poisoning of birds and other non-target mammals (including endangered species). Owls and hawks feed poisoned rodents to their chicks with fatal results. Most incidents of secondary poisoning of wildlife go unnoticed.

Several jurisdictions have recently passed ordinances (San Francisco, Berkeley, El Cerito, Richmond, Albany, and Marin County) to control these risky rodenticides. Our collaboration includes efforts to request control by other jurisdictions such as Cupertino, Los Altos and Mountain View.

Letters Written

• Our Environmental Action Committee (EAC) wrote a letter to the Cupertino City Council (September 2012) to ask them to join many other Bay Area cities in supporting the ban of the sale and use of brodifacoum anticoagulants rodenticides and to use available alternate products.

• Bay Area Audubon Societies joined together to write a letter to Peet's Coffee & Tea Board of Directors (August 2012) to express concern about the proposed sale of Peet's to John A. Benckiser because of its connection with Reckitt Benckiser, a producer of several highly toxic rodenticides that pose unreasonable risks to children, pets and wildlife such as the Golden Eagle and Burrowing Owl.

• We wrote a letter to urge the EPA (August 2012) to take the final steps necessary to remove specified rodenticide products from the consumer market shown to pose unacceptable risks to children, pets, and non-target wildlife. The EPA previously made clear that rodenticides not conforming to the new risk mitigation measures would be in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and would face cancellation by the Agency. Three companies, Reckitt Benckiser, Liphatech, and Spectrum Brands, flouted the Agency's directives, continuing to market their poisons as loose pellets and pastes rather than in bait stations, and to sell to residential consumers the most toxic formulations.

How you can help!

• Find posters and brochures to distribute at Raptors are the Solution.

• Contact your city officials to express support for this campaign.

• You can help with these or other projects that interest you by becoming a Volunteer for Conservation. We have many ways that you can help from simply speaking out as part of our Conservation Action Alert Network to joining our Environmental Action Committee (EAC).

• Make a tax-deductible donation to support this and other local conservation efforts.