For Immediate Release, April 29, 2013
||Kari Birdseye, Earthjustice, (415) 217-2098
Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 436-9682 x 318
Robert Johns, American Bird Conservancy, (202) 234-7181 x 210
Jason Rylander, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 682-9400
Andrew Christie, Sierra Club - Santa Lucia Chapter, (805) 543-8717
Protection Sought for Wildlife, Children Threatened by d-CON Rat Poisons
Manufacturer Rejected Safeguards Against Accidental Poisonings
WASHINGTON— Four conservation groups took legal action today to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to ban sales of several harmful rat poisons. American Bird Conservancy, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, represented by the public-interest law firm Earthjustice, filed a motion to intervene in EPA proceedings to uphold an order to restrict certain rodenticides for the protection of children and wildlife.
The rodenticides at issue, marketed as “d-CON” by British-based multinational conglomerate Reckitt Benckiser, do not comply with safety measures established by the EPA in 2008 to protect children, wild animals and pets from accidental poisoning. The company filed a formal challenge in March opposing federal efforts to limit sale of the poison.
“Reckitt Benckiser profits at the expense of American natural heritage,” said Greg Loarie, an attorney at Earthjustice representing the groups seeking to intervene. “We will do everything we can to support EPA’s decision to ban these poisons.”
The rodenticides at issue interfere with blood clotting and cause the victim to bleed to death. In the absence of safeguards, rodenticides pose a significant risk to bobcats, foxes, owls and other animals that are apt to eat poisoned rats or mice.
“There’s no reason to leave the worst of the worst poisons on the market for the sole benefit of one multinational corporation,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There are safe, cost-effective options on the shelves today that don’t indiscriminately kill wildlife.”
In 2008 the EPA ordered companies to reformulate their products in protective bait stations and stop marketing the most toxic rodenticides on the consumer market, instead limiting their sale to large containers at agricultural supply stores. Most other manufacturers have been quick to conform.
“The d-CON company is carrying out unprecedented stalling tactics while their poisons continue to cause gruesome deaths in hawks, owls, eagles and other raptors, as well as in dogs and cats,” said Cynthia Palmer, pesticides program manager for American Bird Conservancy. “Reckitt Benckiser is determined to fight this battle to the end because d-CON products are a significant source of income in their $37 billion portfolio, alongside French’s Mustard, Lysol, Woolite and other products. It is time for d-CON to put children’s health and animal welfare above corporate profits and to follow the rules like every other rat-poison manufacturer.”
“Our children, America's wildlife and a rogue rodenticide manufacturer don't mix,” said Andrew Christie, director of the Sierra Club’s Santa Lucia Chapter. “Reckitt Benckiser’s preferred profit margin is not worth another poisoned child or dead kit fox. More needs to be done, but the EPA’s proposed ban of d-CON is a necessary minimum safeguard.”
“EPA is trying to protect wildlife and children from the damaging and even lethal effects of rat poison,” said Defenders of Wildlife attorney Jason Rylander. “But Reckitt Benckiser insists on putting money first. To their shame, they are the one company that still refuses to comply with reasonable safety standards.”