The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new regulations for the use of nearly a dozen rodenticides, including those commonly used in agriculture.
The proposed measures aim to protect human health and reduce exposure to non-target organisms, such as mammals and birds that may consume poisoned prey or the rodenticide directly, according to the EPA’s news release.
Under the proposal, some products would now be classified as restricted-use pesticides, limiting their use to licensed, trained applicators. Other proposed changes include requiring more personal protective equipment for handlers using loose formulations, prohibiting broadcast applications in places such as parks and golf courses, and requiring post-application retrieval of carcasses and cleanup of remaining bait.
The proposal stems from the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, which requires reviews for all registered pesticides every 15 years to update risk assessments.
The EPA divides rodenticides into three categories:
—First-generation anticoagulants: warfarin, chlorophacinone and diphacinone.
—Second-generation anticoagulants: brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone.
—Non-anticoagulants: bromethalin, cholecalciferol, strychnine and zinc phosphide.
Second generation anticoagulants are “especially hazardous,” according to the EPA, because they are highly toxic and can persist in animal tissues and harm predators. The new rules would classify all these products, as well as strychnine and zinc phosphide, as restricted-used pesticides. The remaining products would be registered as restricted-use products when sold in packages larger than 1 pound.
“By limiting the sale and use of these products to people trained and certified to use them, this proposed mitigation measure is expected to limit exposure to non-target organisms,” the EPA posted on its website.
The new rules would also ask rodenticide manufacturers to develop and implement “stewardship plans” and educational materials for product users.
Manufacturers and pest control professionals have launched a task force and website, at https://responsiblerodenticides.org, to coordinate their response to the EPA’s proposal.
The proposal is open for public comment until Feb. 13, 2023, at https://www.regulations.gov/commenton/EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0481-0595.
Meanwhile, the EPA is also considering the risk rodenticides pose to three endangered species, with additional mitigation measures that may be applied only in specific geographic areas of concern. The agency expects to release this plan for public comment in fall 2023.