The government is moving to ban the sale of some popular rat and mouse poisons such as D-Con and Hot Shot in an effort to protect children and pets.
The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it is taking the step to reduce the thousands of accidental exposures of children that occur every year from rodent-control products.
"Today's action will help keep our children and pets safe from these poisons," Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a statement.
The EPA said children are particularly at risk for exposure to rat and mouse poisons because the products typically are placed on floors and young children sometimes place bait pellets in their mouths.
The agency had given pesticide manufacturers until last week to research, develop and register new products for residential consumers that would be safer for children, pets and wildlife. Since that call for new safety standards in 2008, some manufacturers have released products with new bait delivery systems and less toxic baits, the agency said.
But the EPA said a handful of companies have said they will not adopt the safety measures. Those are the companies the EPA ban would target.
Dale Kemery, a spokesman for the EPA, could not give a timeline for how long it would take to ban the pesticides that do not comply with the new standards.
The companies are Reckitt Benckiser Inc., manufacturer of D-Con, Fleeject, and Mimas; Woodstream Inc., manufacturer of Victor; Spectrum Group, manufacturer of Hot Shot, and Liphatech Inc., manufacturer of Generation, Maki and Rozol. The EPA said the companies were not in compliance with the new safety standards under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the law that controls the distribution, sale and use of pesticides.
The EPA also intends to ban the sale and distribution of rat poisons containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum directly to residential consumers because of their toxicity as well as concerns about the dangers they pose to wildlife. These products will still be available for use in residential settings, but only by professional pest controllers.