A coalition of 57 conservation, public-health, research and wildlife-rehabilitation groups, is urging California to ban the most toxic rat and mouse poisons.
Assembly bill 2596, introduced by California Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would restrict the most dangerous rodenticides that have been linked to the poisoning of people and animals.
"The poisons hurt children, pets, and wildlife - including the natural predators of rats and mice," says Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Rat poisons are silent, indiscriminate killers that end up killing wildlife, such as owls, bobcats and foxes, animals which actually help naturally control the rodent population."
He says there are safer alternatives.
"Cleaning up unsanitary areas such as trash bins overflowing, eliminating where people are leaving food and water out that attract mice, and sealing up buildings to prevent rats and mice from entering homes in the first place," says Evans.
Evans says those are effective long-term solutions for rodent problems.
The Assembly bill would ban use of the poisons in residential and commercial areas, but still allow use by the agriculture industry or during an emergency rodent or disease outbreak.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reports more than 8,500 children under age six were poisoned with rodenticides in the United States in 2014.
Evans says wildlife officials have documented poisonings from use of rodenticides in at least 37 different types of animals, including endangered species like the San Joaquin kit fox.