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Heinrich Continues to Call on the EPA to Protect Children, Endangered Species, Non-Target Wildlife from Rodenticide Poisonings

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan urging the agency to adopt measures to protect children and endangered species from rodenticide poisoning. 

“We thank the EPA for issuing a proposal to strengthen protections for children and non-target species from rodenticides, and urge the EPA to approve strong mitigation measures,” the lawmakers wrote. “The current allowable use of rodenticides poses a threat to human health and endangered species. Rodenticides are powerful poisons that don’t just kill the target pests, but also kill non-target animals, including pets and predators of rodents. Further, rodenticides that are not properly secured threaten the safety of humans, particularly children, who may be poisoned when exposed to them.” 

The lawmakers detailed the risks of unsecured rodenticides, writing, “rodenticides pose a risk of poisoning in households where the rodenticides are accessible to children and pets. From 2017-2021, the Centers for Disease Control reported 40,808 poisonings of humans from rodenticides. The majority of these exposures occurred in children under 5 years old.” 

The lawmakers continued, “Further, rodenticides pose a persistent threat to non-target wildlife, especially threatened and endangered species. These poisonings impact predators, such as red-tailed hawks, barn owls, mountain lions, and the critically endangered California Condors, who consume the rodenticides through eating poisoned rodents. Other species, such as squirrels, opossum, raccoons, and the endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken, die by consuming the poison directly.” 

The lawmakers concluded by calling for a “careful, scientific review of the broader harms of the current uses of rodenticides, and ways these can be mitigated.”  

Last month, Heinrich sent an additional letter to Administrator Regan focused on the impacts of rodenticides on non-target wildlife, including the Mexican gray wolf in New Mexico.  

The full text of the letter from Heinrich, Booker, Padilla, Welch, and Markey can be found here

The full text of Heinrich’s November letter can be found here