September 21, 2014

Bill to Ban Dangerous Rodent Poison in Sensitive Areas Passes Committee

 

SACRAMENTO, CA—Legislation that would ban the use of second generation-anticoagulant rodenticides in wildlife habitat areas such as State and National Parks, State and Federal Wildlife refuges and state conservancies passed a key legislative committee yesterday. The bill, AB 2657, by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), is an augmentation of a recent regulation promulgated by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) that seeks to eliminate the over-the-counter retail sales of the chemicals.

“The recent finding that a resident mountain lion in Los Angeles was near death due to infections caused by second-generation rodenticides is just another example of the widespread damage these chemicals have on our wildlife,” said Bloom. “The irony is that these chemicals used to control rodent populations are actually killing nature’s best rodent control, our native wildlife.”

In July 2011, DPR received a request from The Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to designate all second-generation anticoagulants as California-restricted materials after they learned that numerous species of non-target wildlife were exposed. The species at risk included various birds of prey such as eagles, hawks, and owls as well as the Canadian goose, black bear, fisher, red fox, gray fox, San Joaquin kit fox, coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, kangaroo rat, raccoon, badger, and wild pig.

In response to DFW’s request, DPR took steps to obtain wildlife incident and mortality data between 1995 and 2011, which it analyzed together with land use data, and rodenticide use and sales data between 2006 and 2010. The department also considered data from multiple sources, including DFW, private agencies and individuals, available journal articles, and other resources.

Of the 492 non-target mammals and bird necropsies included in DPR’s analysis, 359 had residues of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides.

Most recently, P22, a local Los Angeles Mountain Lion found in the Griffith Park area was found wandering the area and looked to be sick with mange. Park rangers captured and treated the cougar as well as took blood samples. He tested positive for second-generation anticoagulants. The cougar had been closely monitored in the area by DFW officials and until recently had been healthy.

On March 18, 2014, DPR designated the active ingredients brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone as California-restricted materials, making all second-generation anticoagulants restricted materials. The action included additional use restrictions for these chemicals that will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

“The Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have done an admirable job in identifying the problem and taking swift action to eliminate the widespread use of these chemicals. However, we must take the next step and keep these dangerous products from entering our most sensitive and fragile wildlife areas,” added Bloom.

Supporting the bill were officials from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Sierra Club.

The bill passed the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials on a 9-4 vote and will next head to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

Richard Bloom chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation. He represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacifica Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood, and West Los Angeles.