Among 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.
Last 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 found thousands of cases of pets consuming rodenticides meant for rodents; many of them died.
And 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.
Said the EPA in a 2013 media release: "Approximately 10,000 children a year are accidentally exposed to mouse and rat baits; EPA has worked cooperatively with companies to ensure that products are both safe to use around children and effective for consumers. Reckitt Benckiser ... is the only rodenticide producer that has refused to adopt EPA's safety standards for all of its consumer use products."
A former UC Davis biologist, Mourad Gabriel has done extensive research into the use of anti-coagulant rodenticide by marijuana farmers in the Sierra. He found that the rodenticide kills fishers if the bird eats poison-laced rats.
For the home consumer, there are better ways to kill off rats and mice besides d-Con's toxic scattershot approach. Californians should smell a rat and keep these poisons out of the state.