The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the initial OK for use of sodium cyanide in pesticides. Earlier in 2011, EPA requested the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) review the potential effects of sodium cyanide on species listed on the Environmental Species Act.

USFWS agreed to complete a consultation on the issue by Dec. 31, 2021. Products containing sodium cyanide are currently listed as a restricted-use pesticide.

Used as a predacide, the compound is loaded into a spring-loaded ejector called a M-44 to control predators that prey on livestock or endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians filed a petition in August 2017 requesting the discontinuation of the compound, and the petition was denied as it “did not contain substantial new information demonstrating a need for review outside of the registration review process,” according to the interim registration review decision document.

There was a 60-day comment period released in December 2018, and more than 20,000 comments were received from the two environmental groups, and 98 from the public and other associations.

The interim decision on the authorization of the use of the spring-loaded predacide was determined to be approved, but the agency will be requiring label changes “to reduce exposure to non-target species and humans and misuse of M-44 devices.”

EPA will also be adding restrictions that include increasing the distance between M-44 placement and public paths.

A final decision will be made on the review case after endocrine screening on the compound and an endangered species determination under the ESA.

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