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Comparative Risk Assessment of the First-Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticide Diphacinone to Raptors

  • Author(s): Rattner, Barnett A.
  • Lazarus, Rebecca S.
  • Eisenreich, Karen M.
  • Horak, Katherine E.
  • Volker, Steven F.
  • Campton, Christopher M.
  • Eisemann, John D.
  • Meteyer, Carol U.
  • Johnston, John J.
  • et al.
Abstract

New regulatory restrictions have been placed on the use of some second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in the United States, and in some situations this action may be offset by expanded use of first-generation compounds. We have recently conducted several studies with captive adult American kestrels and eastern screech-owls examining the toxicity of diphacinone (DPN) using both acute oral and short-term dietary exposure regimens. Diphacinone evoked overt signs of intoxication and lethality in these raptors at exposure doses that were 20 to 30 times lower than reported for traditionally used wildlife test species (mallard and northern bobwhite). Sublethal exposure of kestrels and owls resulted in prolonged clotting time, reduced hematocrit, and/or gross and histological evidence of hemorrhage at daily doses as low as 0.16 mg DPN/kg body weight. Findings also demonstrated that DPN was far more potent in short-term 7-day dietary studies than in single-day acute oral exposure studies. Incorporating these kestrel and owl data into deterministic and probabilistic risk assessments indicated that the risks associated with DPN exposure for raptors are far greater than predicted in analyses using data from mallards and bobwhite. These findings can assist natural resource managers in weighing the costs and benefits of anticoagulant rodenticide use in pest control and eradication programs.

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