Use of anticoagulant rodenticides by pest management professionals in Massachusetts, USA
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Secondary exposure to chemical rodenticides, specifically second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), poses a threat to non-target wildlife including birds of prey. Federal regulations in the United States currently limit homeowner access to SGARs as a way of minimizing this threat. With legal access to SGARs, pest management professionals (PMPs) represent a potential linkage to non-target exposure. There is limited research focused on rodent control practices, chemical rodenticide preferences, level of concern and awareness, or opinions on rodenticide regulations as they relate to PMPs. An online survey was sent to PMP companies across Massachusetts, USA, between October and November 2015. Thirty-five responses were obtained, a 20 % response rate. The preferred rodent control method among responding PMP companies was chemical rodenticides, specifically the SGAR bromadiolone. Respondents varied in their level of concern regarding the impact of chemical rodenticides on non-target species and showed a low level of awareness regarding SGAR potency and half-life. All responding companies reported using integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, with nearly all utilizing chemical rodenticides at some point. Enhanced education focused on SGAR potency, bioaccumulation potential, exposure routes, and negative impacts on non-target wildlife may improve efforts made by PMPs to minimize risk to wildlife and decrease dependence on chemical rodenticide use. Future studies evaluating use of anticoagulant rodenticide (ARs) by PMPs and the association with AR residues found in non-target wildlife is necessary to determine if current EPA regulations need to be modified to effectively reduce the risk of SGARs to non-target wildlife.
KeywordsRodent control Anticoagulant rodenticide Birds of prey Secondary poisoning Bromadiolone Pest management professionals
Special thanks to the Massachusetts Pesticide Board for providing feedback and access to public licensing records, Jef C. Taylor for valuable insight, and to all survey participants.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Tufts University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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