EPA laxity leaves kids at risk from rat poison, enviros charge

The U.S. EPA seems more concerned with protecting rat-poison manufacturers than protecting kids, two enviro groups are charging. Last week, the Natural Resources Defense Council and West Harlem Environmental Action filed suit against the EPA, criticizing the agency for harming children by revoking safety measures on rat poisons in 2001, at the request of industry. Chemical companies that produce rat-poison pellets no longer have to make them taste bitter and contain a dye that makes it easier to see if they’ve been ingested, both measures designed to protect kids. The enviro groups say this shift puts thousands of children at risk of serious harm — particularly poor African-American and Latino kids, whose public-housing projects and schools may be littered with pastel rat-poison pellets. This year, more than 50,000 kids in the U.S. up to age 6 fell ill after eating rat poison, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.