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DeFazio Introduces Legislation to Ban Deadly Poisons

Dec 18, 2007
Press Release

December 17, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC- Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) introduced legislation today, H.R. 4775, to prohibit the use of two deadly poisons. H.R. 4775 is the latest move by the Congressman in his long standing efforts to ban the use of Compound 10-80 and sodium cyanide.

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Springfield) introduced legislation today, H.R. 4775, to prohibit the use of two deadly poisons. H.R. 4775 is the latest move by the Congressman in his long standing efforts to ban the use of Compound 10-80 and sodium cyanide.

"Both of these poisons have been called "super poisons" by the FBI, and have been cited as lethal toxins likely to be used by terrorists to harm Americans" DeFazio said. "These poisons have sickened dozens of humans, and have killed many more pets and wildlife over the years."

Compound 1080 is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless poison, and has no antidote: one teaspoon can kill up to 100 human adults. After widespread misuse and abuse of Compound 1080 in the 1950s and 1960s, and the death of 13 people who ingested the poison, the EPA banned Compound 1080 in 1972. Unfortunately, after intense lobbying from the livestock industry, Compound 1080 was re-approved for use in the "Livestock Protection Collar" (collars containing the poison that are placed around the necks of sheep and burst when punctured by a predator, barbed wire, or other sharp object) in 1985. Each of these collars contains enough poison to kill 6 adult humans.

M-44 devices are spring-activated sodium cyanide ejectors that deliver a deadly dose of this poison when an animal pulls up on it. A small pipe is driven into the ground and then loaded with the ejector and a sodium cyanide capsule. The top of the ejector is wrapped with an absorbent material that has been coated with a substance that attracts canines. When an animal pulls on this material, a spring ejects the sodium cyanide into the animal’s mouth and face. The force of the ejector can spray the cyanide granules up to five feet. The animal can die within minutes or linger over a long period of time. M-44s kill thousands of animals each year, including endangered species and pets. In addition, human injuries from the poison do occur, and children are especially at risk.

 

In 2004, Rep. DeFazio wrote then-Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and asked him to again ban Compound 1080. The Bush Administration failed to act on this request, and in 2005, DeFazio introduced legislation in the United States House of Representatives that would ban this lethal poison. Unfortunately, the Republican Congress failed to act on the legislation before the completion of the 109th Congress. Since then, DeFazio has written numerous letters to the EPA and other federal agencies urging them to utilize their authority to ban Compound 1080 because of its deadly nature. DeFazio’s most recent action, the introduction of this legislation, would halt the legal use of the lethal poisons once and for all.

"Compound 1080 and M-44 sodium cyanide capsules are lethal, dangerous, and unnecessary poisons. They pose a very serious threat to our nation's citizens, wildlife, and domesticated animals. I am pleased to introduce this legislation which would halt the use of these needlessly dangerous poisons permanently," DeFazio pledged.