This news report is so heart wrenching, that I’m just going to let it speak for itself, at least to start with:
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Seven students at Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in San Francisco’s Portola District were hospitalized Thursday after accidently eating rat poison they had mistaken for candy or cookies. The school is not commenting on how the students came across the poison, but parents are outraged that it was apparently so easily accessible. More…
Fortunately, the kids seem to be ok.
I’ve long been an advocate of tighter restrictions on what pesticides consumers have available to them over-the-counter, just because of incidents like this.
Case-in-point: in my twenty years in pest management, I’ve never once poisoned an animal with rodent bait (aside from, of course, the rats and mice that were the intended targets). But, I have had accounts where animals have been poisoned, even died from rodent bait. It wasn’t my bait, though. It was the homeowner’s bait.
There’s many ways in which, working in pest management, you protect the homeowner or consumer. You keep disease bearing pests out and eliminate those that get in. You protect food from being contaminated and ruined. You stop pests from damaging structures and repair damage that lets pest in.
You also protect people by stopping them from misapplying pesticides by doing the application for them.
If this school had rodenticide sitting out where kids could find it and try to eat it, what other foolish – no, not foolish, stupid, utterly stupid – applications, storage practices, and so forth did the applicator do? Is this the first incident like this, or were there other ones that went undiagnosed? Safety experts often say that an accident rarely happens the first time you do something risky, but rather happens after multiple occurrences.
Pest management professionals, be proud of your role in this world, as protectors of public health by keeping the public from poisoning themselves.