New rodenticide guidelines bring concerns for pest control companies 

The world of rodent pest control changed on 1 March 2018. It was on this date that anticoagulant rodenticides were re-classified. The changes have brought about concerns for pest control companies about how to effectively manage rodent infestations while adhering to the stipulations from the European Chemical Agency.

The guidelines mean that pest control companies need to reformulate the products that they use, or re-label products if they decide to leave them as they are. Either eventuality could prove problematic for the industry. Pest control companies changing their marketing strategies may help the situation.”

Guidelines follow review of scientific evidence

The strict guidelines have been implemented following a thorough review of scientific evidence. The review lead to the identification of potential risks. It’s this revelation that has lead to the requirement for all anticoagulant rodenticides with an active ingredient level of 30 parts per million (PPM), to be reformulated or re-labelled.

The new labelling must contain the words “toxic to reproduction” on the box and the words “may damage the unborn child” must be included somewhere within the box.

Control of rat population affected

Rats present a serious risk to human health, and their population needs to be controlled. In recent years the rat problem has increased as the rodents have become more alert to control methods and more resistant to products used.

The new regulations, which affect products that contain ingredients such as warfarin, brodifacoum, chlorophacinone, difenacoum and flocoumafen, could mean that the control of rat populations becomes an even more testing proposition.

This is due to the fact that reformulating the product to have a lover PPM level could reduce its effectiveness. This is turn would mean that rats would need to ingest more of the bait used in order for the results to be lethal. The cold financial reality could be that more pest control visits could be required which could see an increase in costs for the pest controllers and a resulting increase in prices for the service, to be passed on to the consumer.

This is not the only change that could result from the new guidelines. Pest control companies have a responsibility to protect their own employees and the customers whose homes they treat. If companies choose to continue to use products with a high PPM level, after re-labelling they will need to complete new risk assessments in order to assess the risks presented to potentially vulnerable people, such as pregnant women and children.<

All off the shelf products containing an active ingredient level of more than 30 PPM have been removed from shelves and all products currently owned must be used before 1 September 2018. These rules apply to domestic users of the products who are not registered pest control professionals. Although pest controllers will be able to continue using high PPM anticoagulant rodenticides, with the updated labelling, it seems that they are increasingly concerned about the adverse effect the changes could have on their business.