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March 21, 2014
Editorial: California is right to pull d-CON rat poison from the shelves

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(March 21 — By the Editorial Board)

In the myriad ways mankind has built a better mousetrap, the second-generation anti-coagulant marketed under the d-CON brand isn't one of them.

The German company that manufactures d-CON mouse and rat baits, Reckitt Benckiser, is the only company that hasn't voluntarily complied with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request to withdraw anti-coagulant poison from the market because of the threat to children, pets and wildlife. d-CON is a rodent poison marketed to consumers. The company boasts on its website that d-CON is America's No. 1 brand of mouse killer.

This week, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation took the lead against Reckitt Benckiser and banned the retail sale of d-CON in the state effective July 1. It's likely that Reckitt Benckiser will sue to fight the decision. We hope they're unsuccessful.

There are multiple reasons why anti-coagulant rodenticides are terrible: They are the mouse and rat equivalent of a nuclear weapon where a BB gun would suffice. Dogs, cat, hawks, mountain lions, coyotes, northern spotted owls, San Joaquin kit foxes and many other species have died ingesting rodenticides or through secondary poisoning. When a mouse or rat consumes d-CON poison, they don't die immediately. The chemical builds up in their system over several days, leading to uncontrollable bleeding.

In 2011, an EPA analysis founds thousands of cases of pets consuming rodenticides meant for rodents; many of them died.

It's not just other animal species that are at risk. Children are in danger too, according to the EPA, as they are more likely to eat things they find on the ground.

A former UC Davis biologist, Mourad Gabriel, who is supporting the ban, has done extensive research into the use of anti-coagulant rodenticide by marijuana farmers in the Sierra. Gabriel found that the rodenticide kills fishers if the bird eats poison-laced rats. Gabriel found just how toxic anti-coagulant rodenticides are last month when someone poisoned his dog - with meat treated with d-CON.

For the home consumer, there are better ways to kill off rats and mice besides the toxic scattershot approach of d-CON. Californians should smell a rat here and keep these poisons out of the state.

PHOTO: A state scientists conducts a necropsy on a great horned owl in 2011. Birds and animals are being contaminated by eating rats and mice that have been poisoned with household rodenticides such as d-CON. The Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton