In California, a Rat Poison Ban Aims to Protect Wildlife

Rats aren’t the only ones harmed by rat poison. Rodenticide can be toxic to humans and other animals. California lawmakers have taken measures in the past against these deadly substances and are taking further strides to protect wildlife, children, and pets from rat poison. Assembly Bill 1322, adds diphacinone, a highly toxic anticoagulant rodenticide, to the list of prohibited rodenticides in the state, passed in the California State Assembly in May, passed the Senate in September, and was signed into law on October 13, 2023. 

The Department of Pesticide Regulation announced earlier in May that it would re-evaluate the use of diphacinone. This was in response to a ruling by the California Court of Appeal that found the agency at fault for failing to evaluate the chemical’s threats to wildlife.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, anticoagulant rodenticides were involved in 3,000 cases of human poisonings in 2021. 

Despite prior moratoriums on certain types of rat poison, wildlife were continuing to die of exposure to the substances.

A report by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found that over half of wild animals in California tested positive for rodenticide exposure. This often happens when animals eat poisoned rats. Even the famous Los Angeles mountain lion, P-22, suffered ailments from exposure to rat poison on multiple occasions. 

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This ban is a win for vulnerable wildlife — and human health — in the state. The law will take effect on January 1, 2024.

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Lily Olsen
Lily Olsen
Lily is an Associate Editor and Reporter on the Bluedot team — joining from sunny California. She is a recent Princeton graduate with a degree in political science. Her work spans human rights and advocacy through internships at the State Department and the AND Campaign.
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