The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it will ban the sale of D-Con mouse and rat poisons after producer Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB/) refused to meet the agency’s safety standards.
The poisons are used in millions of households and removing them from store shelves will lead to a “substantial reduction” in children being exposed to the rodent bait, according to the agency. While there have been no known human deaths, the EPA said it has been concerned about risks to children, pets and wildlife for many years.
“To ban these products will prevent completely avoidable risks to children,” James Jones, an acting assistant administrator at the EPA, said today in a statement. “With this action, EPA is ensuring that the products on the market are both safe and effective to consumers.”
Reckitt Benckiser has 30 days to request a hearing before an EPA judge to appeal the decision. If no hearing is requested, the agency will cancel the registrations for 12 products used to kill rodents. Until that happens, the items can be sold by retailers.
A spokesman for Berkshire, U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser said the company didn’t have a comment. The company also makes Calgon bath products, Clearasil face cream, Delsym cough medicine and French’s mustard.
The EPA requires rodenticide products for consumer use to be contained in protective tamper-resistant bait stations. The agency prohibits sale of pellets and other bait forms that cannot be secured in bait stations. The agency issued standards in 2008 and gave companies until 2011 to comply.
In addition, the EPA bans the sale of consumer products containing some anticoagulants including brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum because of their toxicity to wildlife.
D-Con’s products either don’t have protective bait stations or contain rodenticides that pose risks to wildlife, and some have both, according to the EPA notice.
The National Pest Management Association, an industry group, praised the EPA’s action in a statement, noting it’s been under development for more than a decade.
The EPA will ban use of “potentially dangerous” do-it- yourself products and “will reserve the rights for use by professionals when needed,” said Bob Rosenberg, executive vice president of the Fairfax, Virginia-based group.
The agency said it has received no reports of children being exposed to bait for products that incorporate its new standards. From 1993 until 2008, the American Association of Poison Control Centers received from 12,000 to 15,000 reports of rat and mouse poison exposures each year to children under 6 years of age.
“While EPA is unaware of any fatal or untreatable incidents involving children, pets are not so fortunate, and on average more than 100 pet deaths are reported each year from exposure to rodenticides,” the agency said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org