California Governor Signs Bill Banning Most Rodenticide Uses

California Governor Signs Bill Banning Most Rodenticide Uses

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 29 signed into law AB 1788, “The California Ecosystems Protection Act,” which prohibits most uses of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). AB 1788 was passed by the California Legislature on Aug. 31.

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September 30, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 29 signed into law AB 1788, “The California Ecosystems Protection Act,” which prohibits most uses of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). AB 1788 was passed by the California Legislature on Aug. 31   

AB 1788 prohibits most uses of rodenticides containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum or difethialone to reduce the poisoning of non-target wildlife until the re-evaluation by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is completed; the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) also will play a consultation role in the re-evaluation.

The bill was in response to studies that showed the detectable levels of SGARs in wildlife had not declined despite a consumer ban of the products in 2014.

The pest control industry, including the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Pest Control Operators of California (PCOC), as well as other groups, had been working in opposition to AB 1788.  

Chris Reardon, executive vice president of PCOC, said neither he nor PCOC members were surprised Newsom signed the bill into law, but they were disappointed. “Fear and emotion overtook fact and science,” he told PCT.

AB 1788 includes numerous exemptions including wineries, breweries, warehouses, factories, agricultural sites, medical facilities, and drug and medical equipment manufacturing facilities, etc. Reardon and others contend that with these exemptions, AB 1788 really does not protect wildlife from SGARs as the bill’s sponsors touted. “Guess what: Places that are exempt, like wineries, are directly adjacent to wildlife. The sponsors got what they wanted, but the fact of the matter is this bill does nothing to protect wildlife,” Reardon said.

AB 1788 is expected to go into effect  Jan. 1, 2021, but Reardon said the California Department of Pesticide Regulation(CDPR) typically institutes a phase-out period for such matters. Reardon said he has been working with California Department of Pesticide Regulation to get clarity on how this implementation will take place. He added that the implementation could be challenging for CDPR because of the numerous exemptions/exceptions.

Reardon said California’s actions could have implications for the rest of the pest management industry. He said he would not be surprised if states such as Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts follow suit with similar bans. “For those states that think it could never be done, look at California,” he said.