Misuse of mouse baits leads to poisoning

NSW EPA

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is urging people to carefully follow instructions when using pesticides, or risk poisoning or other serious health conditions.

The reminder comes after several recent poisonings from the product Mouseoff, which contains zinc phosphide, resulted in hospitalisations in Western NSW Local Health District.

Mouseoff is clearly labelled as a high-risk commercial product, used for rodent control, and only approved to be used in agricultural and/or industrial and commercial settings.

EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said the EPA had commenced an investigation into the potential supply of Mouseoff to customers for domestic use.

“We’re aware there’s a mouse plague in many parts of the state however, a recent poisoning case serves as a warning that commercial or agricultural pesticides should not be used in a domestic setting.

“Our message to users is a simple one – follow the product instructions carefully. Before using any bait, it’s vital that consumers check that their product is suitable for domestic use. We are very concerned about keeping the community safe and well.”

Director of Western NSW Public Health Unit Priscilla Stanley said “phosphine gas released from mouse baits containing zinc phosphide can be dangerous. It can cause suffocation in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces. Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness”.

Anyone suffering from symptoms are advised to contact Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.

The EPA regulates the use of herbicides and pesticides in NSW, including those used in agriculture, on public land and in commercial and domestic premises, through the Pesticides Act 1999.

Under the Pesticides Act and Pesticides Regulation, users are required to check the product label carefully before using and comply with the directions for use on the label.

Anyone with a concern, or knowledge of an incident involving pesticide misuse in their local area, should contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.

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