Residents who have used a commercial mouse bait in their homes will be helped by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to safely remove and dispose of it. The bait has the potential to pose a serious risk to anyone who is exposed to it, but especially to children.
Poisoning can occur by inhaling fumes given off by the mouse bait, or by swallowing the product. People should ensure they, their children and pets do not touch any product that has been spread around the home.
The EPA is urging residents who have used agricultural bait containing zinc phosphide in domestic settings to contact the 24-hour Environment Line for advice and to register for free removal and disposal.
The removal program follows recent suspected poisonings which resulted in hospitalisation in the Western NSW Local Health District from baits which contain zinc phosphide.
NSW Health has warned the phosphine gas released from mouse baits containing zinc phosphide can cause poisoning or 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 should call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
Mouse baits containing zinc phosphide are not designed for use in homes and house yards.
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Carmen Dwyer said the EPA was aware residents may have used products not meant for domestic settings, or mouse baits without the original packaging and safe handling instructions.
“The EPA is concerned that these products may be inside homes and we want to ensure family members and pets are not at risk,” she said.
“In some cases, the product may already have been eaten by mice but if there is any leftover product please ring the EPA for free support and advice.
“The EPA is offering to arrange a free service by a licensed pest technician to remove this mouse bait and clean the area to ensure your home is safe. We don’t want residents disturbing bait if it has been placed in ceiling cavities. It is safer to leave it and ask for assistance, than disturb it.”
Ms Dwyer said it was critical to check baits were suitable before being used in the home.
“Please ensure you do not use commercial or agricultural products in a domestic setting,” Ms Dwyer advised. “There are products that can be used in homes and it is important to ensure you are using the correct bait.
“Always follow the instructions on the label carefully. These products must be used responsibly to ensure your family is kept safe.”