Don’t Take the Bait!

When my kids were little, one of their favorite holiday stories was about a starving mouse who ate the (leather) organ bellows in a church and in doing so ruined the traditional holiday service. But miracles do happen, and the children’s choir, who had been pretty tone deaf, was suddenly singing Silent Night in gorgeous, perfect four-part harmony (without the organ!). So the mouse became a hero.

Most of the time, and especially when they make themselves at home in our kitchen, mice and rats are definitely not heroes. At one time or other most of us have had to rid our homes of mice or rats. One common way of dealing with a mice or rat problem is to use a poison bait. These baits have a big problem – kids eat them, and they poison kids the same way they poison mice or rats. Poison Control Centers report about 40,000 child (under six years old) poisoning incidents every year.

Many poison baits are bait stations that are made to be child-proof. But a few companies are still selling kid-accessible baits even though they told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that they would switch to bait stations. They are forcing EPA to spend years, and lots of resources (our taxpayer dollars!), to go through a formal legal process to get these products off store shelves.

NO CHILD SHOULD SUFFER WHILE THE RAT POISON INDUSTRY DRAGS ITS (DIRTY RAT) FEET! Tell these companies to shape up! Follow this link to join with CEH partner Pesticide Action Network and take action.

Click here for a list of bait products to avoid.

Click here for tips about non-chemical ways to deal with a mouse problem.

EPA has been struggling with the problem of kids and poison baits for years. Some of the COMPANY arguments can only be described as ludicrous. I remember one of the first EPA meetings I ever attended in which poison bait companies  argued with a straight face that every pesticide says “Keep out of reach of children” somewhere on its label, SO any kid poisonings were caused by the people who used the poison baits. By definition they were not following the directions! So the bait companies had no responsibility to take any action. In 1998, EPA recommended some simple steps to help solve the problem, then changed its mind three years later. In 2004 CEH ally (and home of our beloved board member Cecil Corbin-Marks) West Harlem Environmental Action sued EPA to force some action. EPA’s most recent efforts are a result of that lawsuit.

San Francisco Department of the Environment is leading a national effort to get problematic baits off store shelves. Read for more information about the San Francisco effort.

As always, we really appreciate your help.