California moves closer to rodenticide ban

|  August 10, 2019
Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White, pmimages@earthlink.net

Photo courtesy of, and copyrighted by, Gene White, pmimages@earthlink.net

UPDATE AUG. 14: This is a developing story, with the first committee meeting rescheduled from Aug. 12 to Aug. 19.

California’s ban on second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) for use in the state, and first-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) for use on state-owned property, is moving closer to becoming law.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act, or bill AB 1788, was approved by the California State Senate’s Environmental Quality committee on June 19. It passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 6; the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on April 9; and the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee on March 26.

The bill will now go to California’s Senate Committee for Natural Resources for approval. If passed, the bill will head to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, and then a full vote before the Senate. The final step would be Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

If passed and signed into law by Gov. Newsom, California would be the first state in the country to impose an all-out ban on SGARs with a few exceptions that include: a warehouse used to store foods for human or animal consumption; an agricultural food production site, including, but not limited to, a slaughterhouse and cannery; and a factory, brewery, or winery.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced plans in November 2018 to re-evaluate SGARs brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone, as Pest Management Professional reported in February. These rodenticides were named Restricted Materials the last time they were assessed in 2014. Since then, only licensed applicators, not consumers, could buy and use them.

When initially introduced, AB 1788 included an exemption for public health emergencies to be declared by local health officials and county agricultural commissioners. However, this provision was removed. Despite the removal of the explicit public health exemption, the bill’s author, California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), believes federal law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act or FIFRA) would allow for the declaration of emergency exemptions. Assemblymember Bloom’s viewpoint is not unanimously agreed upon, though, because the applicability of FIFRA exemptions to AB 1788 are unclear.

The proposed rodenticide ban has been in the works since Assemblymember Bloom introduced the bill to the California Legislature in February 2019. It follows California’s precedent of introducing the strictest environmental legislation of any state.

The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) said activist groups cited data and studies that prompted the DPR to re-evaluate SGARs. These groups maintain that SGARs may have an “adverse impact” on non-target animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, raptors, hawks and owls.

Following DPR’s announcement, the NPMA, the Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC) and other entities partnered to resist the re-evaluation of SGARs. They submitted comments in January that questioned the validity of the data and studies presented to the DPR, and argued banning SGARs would adversely affect public health and the economy in California.

“The NPMA and PCOC will continue to work together to oppose AB 1788, which would limit the ability of PMPs to protect the citizens of California from dangerous and deadly rodents,” said Jake Plevelich, the NPMA’s director of Public Policy.

Since the launch of the NPMA’s grassroots campaign opposing AB 1788, more than 6,386 messages were sent to California lawmakers, and numerous phone calls were made, he said.

The NPMA applauded all the PCOC members who showed up in force on April 9 to oppose AB 1788. “Although we don’t anticipate it will be an easy fight, we will continue to work together to oppose the bill,” Plevelich added.

PMPs who want to help are encouraged to send a message to California legislators regarding the proposed rodenticide ban. Visit the Take Action page on the NPMA’s website to make your voice heard.

Diane Sofranec

About the Author:

Diane Sofranec is the senior editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at dsofranec@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3793.

1 Comment on "California moves closer to rodenticide ban"

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  1. Gabriel Gomez says:

    Well written explanation. If this bill passes the rest of the US will eventually follow suit, then the rats and the disease they carry will cause an all out plague similar to the one that happened in Europe #blackplague. What we do know is online sales to the public, illegal applications and illegal smuggling of registered and unregistered products are the main issue. While professionals steward the products, the application, IPM, exclusion and regulation we know that only professionals and the general public will be effected by this short sited bill. These decisions need to be made based on science, not emotion. Professionals will have to charge absorbent amounts of money to implement rodent control and I foresee only the upper middle class and upper class will be able to afford it, while the rest will inevitably try to eradicate rats on their own by legal and most likely illegal baiting means. The implications of this bill if it passes will be destructive to public health and will effect the lively hoods of generations to come.