Anticoagulant rodenticides can be categorized as either second-generation (1970–1980s) anticoagulants that includes difenacoum, bromadiolone, and flocoumafen, or first-generation (1940–1960s) which include warfarin and coumatetralyl. Second-generation rodenticides prove more lethal for animals. The anticoagulant rodenticides have been used in rodents control campaigns, despite the proven risk of secondary poisoning of non-target predators and scavengers.
The most commonly used rodenticides are anticoagulants and the recent studies around the world have confirmed extensive exposure of several non-target species the poisons which are commonly used to control or eradicate rodent species. The anticoagulants are indiscriminate killers; they can move through numerous levels of a food chain. Anticoagulants may also impact animal reproduction system and have immunological consequences for those animals which are chronically exposed. In most of the cases the animals die because of internal bleeding and hemorrhage. These anticoagulants are toxic to all vertebrates.
The accidental poisoning of non-target species has been recorded globally; this includes both primary and secondary poisoning of the non-target animals. Cases of primary poisoning occur when an animal accidently directly consumes the poison baits themselves. Secondary poisoning happens when a predatory animal consumes a poisoned animal; the poison gets accumulated in the body of predator.
The first generation anticoagulants posed lower risk to the non-target species because of its low half-life; half-life for warfarin ranges between 5 to 28 hours. The short retention time ensured that the residues in a target animal, should it be captured prior to death or the carcass scavenged, were not very high. Based on animal LD50s, second generation anticoagulant rodenticides have significantly longer half-lives in target and non-target animals. They are more toxic to birds and mammals.
Studies conducted between 1996 and 2012 concluded that in Britain, 31% of polecats livers were tested positive for anticoagulants. Moreover in southern California studies have found that approximately 92% of bobcats tested were exposed to anticoagulants. Further, in New York around 81% of the great horned owls tested positive for exposure. Despite all these consequences rodenticides are widely used across the globe. According to a recent study conducted by IndustryARC the market revenue for rodenticides
is forecast to reach $1.045 billion by 2021.
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