GOP role stinks in poison control


In 1998 the EPA mandated child-proofing of rat poisons that were manufactured in candy-like pastel pellets.

It required that the pellets have a bitter taste and a bright dye that would stain the child’s mouth. But some manufacturers protested, and in the spirit of limiting government, “nanny state” and getting government off the back of business, the Bush Administration’s EPA rescinded those requirements in 2001.

The number of reported child poisonings went up every year ever after. By 2004, according to American Association of Poison Control Centers, it was up to 50,000 a year requiring treatment for ingesting rat poison – three times as many when the childproofing requirements were in effect.

In 2011 Obama’s EPA set many new rules regulating rodenticides.

Then, also in 2011, the House Republicans cut AAPCC funding by 35 percent. AAPCC takes 4 million calls a year and in 75 percent of all cases, the centers are able to provide treatment for only $30 or $40 – as opposed to an emergency room visit that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars (often paid for by the government), saving $1.8 billion in medical costs and lost productivity each year.

But the House Republicans didn’t bother to examine that or how much the cuts would actually increase spending on emergency care.

Cuz they plain just don’t care.

The state of Louisiana closed its poison center in 1988 to save money; the next year, there were 15,000 more emergency room visits for poisonings that cost an additional $1.4 million. In 1993, because of budget cuts, the Michigan poison center stopped taking calls from two of the three area codes it served.

During the next four months, a major insurance company recorded a 35 percent increase in outpatient visits for suspected poisonings and a 16 percent increase in hospitalizations.

Both Louisiana and Michigan have since restored poison center coverage. Studies in Canada, the US and Europe show that the newer more potent generation of rat poisons are working their way up the food chain, killing a variety of wild animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, skunks, deer, squirrels, possums and raccoons, along with bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, hawks and vultures.

Diane Daiute

Sweet Home