Keeping people, pets and wildlife safe shouldn’t be a partisan issue. And when it comes to restricting the most toxic rat poisons on the market, Democrats and Republicans have agreed.
In 2020, state Sen. Anthony Portantino joined a majority of lawmakers to help Assembly Bill 1788, which limited the use of deadly second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, become law. This month, as chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Portantino will consider a more expansive bill.
Spearheaded by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Assembly Bill 1322 would restrict the use of another rodenticide, diphacinone, and push for better wildlife protections. Getting second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides off the market made things safer, but mountain lions, eagles and other wildlife continue to be poisoned.
A 2022 study by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found that nearly half of wildlife tested had exposure to three or more anticoagulant rodenticides.
Many people living in foothill communities are used to seeing owls, hawks, bobcats and other wildlife in their neighborhoods. They should know that rodenticides cause many of our wild neighbors to slowly bleed to death from the inside out or suffer from debilitating skin diseases and compromised immune systems.
These toxic chemicals also harm pets and children. There were more than 3,000 cases of human poisonings in 2021, including at least 2,300 cases involving children, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
It’s especially distressing to see our loved ones and cherished wildlife harmed when there are safer alternatives to control rodents. Assembly Bill 1322 will steer the public toward using less toxic rodenticides, effective traps and other ways to address infestations.
With Portantino’s leadership, this common sense bill can advance out of committee and move closer to becoming law. People who want to make the safer choice now can visit SafeRodentControl.org and raptorsarethesolution.org.
The author is a policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity, which is a co-sponsor of AB 1322.
First published in the August 26 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.