On the agenda for Tuesday night's El Cerrito City Council meeting is a proposed request to El Cerrito businesses to not sell D-Con and other rodenticides that have been targeted as hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Several other local governments – including Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond, San Francisco and Marin County – have adopted similar measures, according to a city staff report prepared for the council meeting. (The report is attached to this article.)
The EPA announced its intent to ban the pesticides, but some manufacturers are attempting to block the move, creating what is expected to be a protracted official review process.
So in the meantime, a number of local jurisdictions are asking merchants and contractors to voluntarily refrain from using them "due to the risk to public and environmental health because of the length of the EPA prohibition and appeal process," according to the staff report.
The rodenticides are sold as loose baits, or in the form of blocks or pastes, that can be accidentally consumed by children or pets and that allow the poisoned rats and mice to escape and be consumed by birds of prey and other predators such as wildcats and coyotes.
"The American Association of Poison Control Centers annually receives between 12,000 and 15,000 reports of children under the age of six as having ingested these types of rat poison products as they are often set out in accessible locations and mistaken for edible food," the staff report says. "In addition, predator birds and animals often eat poisoned rats and become poisoned themselves through secondary exposure."
Eleven of the 20 poisons on the targeted list contain a highly toxic anti-coagulant that causes death from bleeding. The full list of targeted rodenticides can be found in the attached staff report.
"According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, anticoagulant rodenticide poisoning is the most frequent cause of poisoning in pets," the staff report says. "While older versions of anticoagulant rodenticides such as warfarin required multiple ingestions to result in toxicity, the latest products require only one feeding to be highly toxic."
The council measure would also ask El Cerrito residents, contractors and city staff not to buy or use the targeted poisons and would ask the state Department of Pesticide Regulation to cancel or not renew registration of the products.
The measure was proposed by Councilwoman Ann Cheng and adopted by the city's Environmental Quality Control Committee on Aug. 14. Several residents as well as members of the ad hoc group, Raptors Are The Solution (RATS), have also contacted city staff urging support for the measure, according to the staff report.
Tuesday night's council meeting at city hall begins at 7:30 p.m. instead of the regular 7 p.m. starting time.