Monday, March 16, 2009

Is this exposed rat poison dangerous for young children and pets?

Is this exposed rat poison dangerous for young children and pets?
A STOMPer says a pest control company placed rat poison around her friend's home at Block 153 Yishun Street 11. She fears that the exposed poison poses a danger for children and pets, who may unwittingly consume the brightly-coloured powder.

Here's what the STOMPer wrote in an email today (Mar 16):

"On Thursday (Mar 12) my friend noticed the pest control company placing rat poison around her neighbourhood at Block 153 Yishun Street 11.

"I went over and took some photos.

"We were later told by a uniformed NEA officer supervising the process that it was OK even though the poison was 'exposed' and not in tamper-proof boxes.

"I wonder about the danger to little children or even pet-owners who bring their dog for walks on the grass."

Is this exposed rat poison dangerous for young children and pets?

Haphazardly scattering poisoned baits in such a manner probably does pose some risk to young children, as well as dogs and cats. I can't seem to find if there are laws mandating that poisoned baits left for pests should be placed in secure boxes to prevent pets and children from accidentally consuming the poison. If Singapore doesn't have such laws, maybe there should be for the sake of safety.

I did however find a series of posters and brochures on the National Environment Agency (NEA) website on stamping out rodent infestations.

I'm also wondering about the possibility of any threat to birds and other urban mammals such as plantain squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) and house shrew (Suncus murinus). The risk of collateral damage is certainly there, and while it is difficult to completely prevent non-targeted species from consuming the poisoned bait, it is important to minimise the risk of another animal getting access to the bait and consuming it. Not only does it result in the unnecessary death of an animal not targeted for control, it is also a waste of perfectly good poison.