Groups Call for Immediate Withdrawal of Toxic Pesticides From Shelves Pending Cancellation Proceedings by EPA

 

MEDIA RELEASE
Contact: Robert Johns, 202-234-7181 ext.210, bjohns@abcbirds.org

 

Red-tailed Hawk by Gary Smyle
Red-tailed Hawk by Gary Smyle

(Washington, D.C., June 13, 2011)  American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, and ten other groups have called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to begin immediate proceedings to have rodent poison products that do not meet new EPA packaging guidelines withdrawn from retail shelves.

 

In 2008, following years of pressure by ABC, Defenders of Wildlife, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), EPA announced new regulations to take effect June 4 for ten rodenticides because of their unacceptable risks to children, pets, and non-target wildlife. The EPA-mandated changes to household mouse or rat bait products include switching bait products to tamper- and weather-resistant bait stations, limiting the amount of bait sold to residential consumers, and restricting the use of a second-generation active ingredient.

 

The EPA began its evaluation of rodenticides in 1998. A lawsuit brought by NRDC over child poisonings, along with the threat of action by ABC and Defenders of Wildlife over the poisoning of birds of prey and San Joaquin kit foxes, convinced EPA to develop a mitigation plan for both ecological effects and children. The manufacturers of these chemicals fought back, pressuring EPA to accept less stringent, alternative plans, and threatening them with lawsuits.

 

Another key impetus for the new requirements was the more than 10,000 annual calls to poison control centers, many of them for children, in connection with these types of products. Additionally, these rodenticides had been causing the secondary poisoning of birds and mammals that were scavenging on dead or dying rodents, including Golden Eagles, Ravens, endangered San Joaquin kit foxes, and mountain lions.

 

A handful of companies have advised EPA that they do not plan to comply with the requirements. Consequently, EPA has announced their intention to initiate cancellation proceedings under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA against non-compliant products marketed by the following companies to remove them from the market:

  • Reckitt Benckiser Inc. (makers of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas rodent control products)
  • Woodstream Inc. (makers of Victor rodent control products)
  • Spectrum Group (makers of Hot Shot rodent control products)
  • Liphatech Inc. (makers of Generation, Maki, and Rozol rodent control products)

Unfortunately, cancellation can take years if the manufacturers choose to fight the proceedings, during which time, the products can remain on the market. Therefore, in a May 16, 2011 letter, ABC and ten other groups requested that EPA take immediate measures to ensure rodent poison packaging that does not conform to the new standards be pulled from the retail market. The groups are asking EPA to begin proceedings for the immediate removal of the non-compliant products because they pose an imminent hazard.

 

The letter by the groups to EPA further states that “It is unacceptable for a major pesticide company to blatantly ignore the risk mitigation measures after the Agency has conducted years of research and risk assessments, and developed a plan to which all companies were given ample time to conform. The sale of an unregistered product after the phase-out period presents an imminent hazard to children, pets, and wildlife, and we strongly believe it is grounds for suspension under FIFRA section 6(c). We feel this is an issue to which the EPA enforcement division must immediately respond with decisive action."

 

“It is both astonishing and reprehensible that some manufacturers have decided to refuse to comply with prudent safety measures  designed to reduce the many human and animal poisoning incidents caused by their products,” said Dr. Michael Fry, Director of Conservation Advocacy for ABC.   

 

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American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.