VICTORY FOR BIRDS AND WILDLIFE

EPA to Put Limits on Toxic Rat Poisons (Washington, D.C., January 17, 2007) In a decision applauded by conservationists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today published in the Federal Register its proposed mitigation plan for rat poisons that should greatly reduce accidental poisonings of birds and other wildlife. Specifically, EPA will make three of the nine rodenticides restricted use pesticides, which means only certified pesticide applicators can use the chemicals and all over-the-counter sales of the non-restricted rodenticides will now have to be in tamper resistant bait stations. “This is an important victory for birds like eagles and hawks,” said Dr. Michael Fry, Director of American Bird Conservancy’s (ABC) Pesticides and Birds Program. “Over the years thousands of birds of prey, including Golden and Bald Eagles, have been killed as a result of eating dead or dying rodents that have been carelessly poisoned. The new regulations will limit the indiscriminate use of these highly toxic chemicals, and the tamper resistant bait stations will also help prevent up to 15,000 poisonings of children each year.” ABC, Defenders of Wildlife, the National Pesticides Reform Coalition and other conservation groups have been pressuring the EPA for years to address the threats to wildlife and human health. In 1998, the EPA initiated a special review that has led to today’s mitigation plan. The three highly toxic pesticides that will no longer be available over the counter are brodifacoum, bromodialone, and difethialone, which have the greatest potential for poisoning wild birds and scavenging mammals as a result of eating poisoned rodents. These will become “restricted use only” and will be available only to certified pest control operators. “The proposed EPA restrictions will significantly benefit several endangered species including the San Joaquin kit fox, and other wildlife species such as mountain lions and bobcats, each of which have been found poisoned by these chemicals in both suburban and rural areas,” said Caroline Kennedy, Senior Director of Field Conservation for Defenders of Wildlife. There will be a 60-day comment period on the mitigation plan, followed by a review of comments, and then a rule. The federal register notice is available at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071... # 30 # Contact: Steve Holmer, American Bird Conservancy, 202/234-7181, sholmer@abcbirds.org Deborah Bagocius, Defenders of Wildlife, 202/772-0239