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CLSA Wire

Rat Poison Ban Trapped in State Senate for 2019

By Brett Johnson
August 23, 2019

Last week, it was disclosed that Assembly Bill 1788, authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica), would not be moving forward from the Senate Appropriations Committee. AB 1788 aimed to prohibit the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) throughout the state and also prohibit the use of first-generation anticoagulant (FGARs) rodenticides on state-owned property. The bill cites state findings of related toxins in dead wildlife, such as mountain lions and coyotes, as the impetus for the bill.

The SGARs targeted by AB 1788, however, are one of the, if not the, most effective tools in controlling rodent populations. They also form roughly half of the active ingredients currently available in California to combat rodent infestations, meaning a substantial loss to many rodent control plans.

For the life sciences industry in California, rodent control is incredibly important, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expects all facilities handling drugs and medical devices, among other FDA-approved products, to be free of rodents. For good reason, there is no tolerance for rodent-introduced impurities when, for instance, the facility is producing injected medicines or implanted medical devices. This means the presence of rodents in a facility could lead to the (at least a temporary) shutdown of a facility until issues are corrected, which is a substantial risk for any California-based life sciences company.

CLSA spearheaded the life sciences industry’s opposition effort, providing impactful testimony in opposition to the bill in print and pointing out the need for the life sciences industry’s manufacturing and research facilities, as well as other member facilities, to be exempted from the bill’s restrictions on the use of certain rodenticides.

While the reasons for not moving the bill forward have not yet been officially disclosed, many believe the projected costs of the bill to the State of California were high, as the bill would have added numerous new monitoring and enforcement burdens on state agencies at a time where some reports have indicated rodent populations in California are on the rise due to climate change.

The bill, however, will likely return in some form next year. CLSA will continue coordinating opposition and amendment efforts on the issue in the hopes of coming to an acceptable resolution for both sides.  Any CLSA members who would like to provide input or would like further information on AB 1788 are asked to reach out to Oliver Rocroi, CLSA’s Senior Director, State Government Affairs (orocroi@califesciences.org) or Brett Johnson, CLSA’s Senior Director, Policy & Regulatory Affairs (bjohnson@califesciences.org).