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San Francisco Tries to Root Out Some Rat Poisons

 

ratsSan Francisco city officials joined pet and environmental advocates and local business leaders Monday to call for a voluntary ban on various mouse and rat control products that they say are potentially harmful.

Supervisor Malia Cohen joined members of the city's Department of the Environment to launch the "Don't Take the Bait" campaign, which calls on businesses in the city to stop selling certain rodent control products that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said poses an "unreasonable risk" to children, pets and wildlife.

The EPA asked rodent control companies in 2008 to stop selling certain kinds of products, such as ones sold as pellets, ones containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone or difenacoum, or products not packaged with bait stations.

But some of those products -- including Reckitt-Benckiser, Inc.'s D-Con, Spectrum Group's Hot Shot and Rid-a-Rat, and Liphatech Inc.'s Generation products -- remain on shelves at some stores, according to city officials.

"The EPA initiated regulatory action to cancel and remove mouse and rat poisons that are potentially harmful but that process can take years to complete; too long for us to wait," Melanie Nutter, director of the Department of the Environment, said in a statement.

Cohen said she plans to introduce a resolution at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting demanding that manufacturers stop making those products and that local businesses stop selling them.

"The EPA has already clearly established, through a long scientific process, that these particular products pose an unreasonable risk.

But yet they remain on store shelves due to legal wrangling," Cohen said. As an alternative to using the potentially harmful products, the

Department of the Environment recommends using old-fashioned snap traps, as well as sealing holes in buildings to prevent entry by rodents and keeping areas clean and free of food sources.

Ten San Francisco businesses announced today that they were joining the campaign against the products. The companies include Walgreens, Sloat Gardens, Cliff's Variety, Center Hardware and Cole Hardware.

The city's campaign is part of a national effort that also includes Contra Costa County, the Marin Municipal Water District, New York City and Boulder, Colo.

Outreach workers will be going around the city in the next several weeks to talk to business owners and encourage them to join the voluntary ban.

For more information about the city's campaign, visit the Department of the Environment Web site.

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