The manufacturers of one of the most common brands of rat and mice poison, d-Con, have sued state regulators just one week after California banned the pesticide and blamed it for killing wildlife.
Reckitt Benckiser, the UK-based consumer products company that makes d-Con, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the California Department of Pesticide Control for halting the sale of the rodenticide commonly used by homeowners to kill rats and mice. The lawsuit alleges that the state overstepped its authority and has exposed California residents to health risks because they won't be able to get rid of rodents in their home.
D-Con is "the most affordable and effective rodent control method available to consumers," the lawsuit says. The rat poison costs about $5 at Walmart.
But by July 1, the rodenticide will be removed from most stores, and only certified professionals such as pest control businesses will be able to purchase it. This month the state Department of Pesticide Regulation banned d-Con and other products that contain toxins blamed for killing at least 300 animals, including endangered species, in the last two decades. Rats and mice eat the pesticides, and predators such as foxes and hawks ingest the poison when they eat the rodents.
"It's a huge, huge step in the right direction and we're not inclined to sit back as Reckitt tries to undo the progress that's been made," said Gregory Loarie, staff attorney with San Francisco environmental advocacy group Earthjustice.
Reckitt Benckiser and the company's attorneys in San Francisco did not immediately respond to emails from this newspaper.
Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.