Raptors image.jpg

New Law AB1788 Protects California Wildlife From Super-toxic Rat Poisons

On September 29, 2020, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will place a moratorium on most uses of super-toxic rodenticides in California until state agencies can develop better safeguards to protect wildlife from the deadly poisons.

The California Ecosystems Protection Act (A.B. 1788) targets only the most dangerous rodenticides and includes exceptions to allow their use to protect public health. It establishes California as the nation’s leader in protecting wildlife and the environment from rodenticides, while also protecting public health.

A 2018 state analysis documented highly toxic rat poisons, known as second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, in more than 85% of tested mountain lions, bobcats and protected Pacific fishers, prompting state regulators to begin a new evaluation of whether to further restrict or ban the powerful, toxic chemicals.

Numerous safe, cost-effective and nontoxic options are available, and more than 175 less-toxic rat poison products would still be fully available for use under the law.

Effective, affordable alternatives to rat poison include rodent-proofing homes and farms by sealing cracks and crevices and eliminating food sources; providing owl boxes in rural areas to encourage natural predation; and using traps that don’t involve these highly toxic chemicals.

A.B. 1788 was introduced by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and cosponsored by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Raptors are the Solution.


Anticoagulant rodenticides interfere with blood clotting, resulting in uncontrollable bleeding that leads to death. Super-toxic poisons include the second-generation anticoagulants brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum, which are especially hazardous and persist for a long time in body tissues. Predators and scavengers that feed on poisoned rodents are frequently poisoned by these slow-acting rodenticides.

The harm caused by second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in California is well documented. More than 70% of wildlife tested in California in recent years has been exposed to dangerous rodenticides, including more than 25 different species.