In Letter, 17 Senators Warn EPA Limitations Could Endanger Food Supply, Public Health, Property

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today led her colleagues in challenging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) efforts to restrict the use of rodenticides, claiming the proposed mitigation measures could endanger the nation’s food supply, public health, and property.

Hyde-Smith authored a letter signed by 16 colleagues that encourages EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan to work with rodenticide producers and users to develop science-based policies that would allow continued use of 11 rodent control products.  In November 2022, the EPA proposed mitigation measures for rodenticides.

“Any new measures should be based on sound science and must recognize the significant benefits that the products provide,” the Senators wrote Regan.

“The proposed mitigation measures would place severe restrictions on the use of rodenticides, hampering the ability of growers, consumers, pest control operators, restaurants, other food handling establishments, schools, health care facilities, and businesses to control rats, mice, and other rodents,” the Senators continued.  “They would also complicate compliance with food safety regulations that require rodent control.  Rather than protecting the environment, limiting access to vital rodenticides would harm the American food supply, public health, animal health and welfare, and infrastructure.”

The Senators’ concerns about the proposed mitigation measures are based on the fact they would, among other things:  classify most of the products as restricted use pesticides; require that users become licensed, state-certified applicators; prohibit current surface (non-bait station) application methods used to protect many crops; and require growers to conduct carcass searches for two weeks after application.

“We strongly encourage the EPA to work with rodenticide registrants and product users to ensure that any new mitigation measures are practical, science-based, and allow continued access to these essential pest control tools.  As written, the proposed mitigation measures will result in crop damage and livestock loss, jeopardize the safety of the food supply, weaken public health protections, and make it more difficult for people to protect their homes and property from rodents,” the Senators concluded.

Rodents are responsible for millions of dollars in damages to field crops, stored grain, and farm equipment annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The pest can also spread over 60 diseases to humans, companion animals, and livestock. 

In addition to Hyde-Smith, the letter was signed by Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

Read the signed letter here.