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Rat poison safe to people and pets
Updated: 2004-12-28 11:10

China's first environmentally friendly rat poison, which reduces rat population by making male rats sterile, has received a patent from the State Intellectual Property Right Administration and should be approved for sale in the near future.

Currently, the Shanghai-developed-and-produced rodent poison is being tested in Fengxian and Nanhui districts. The test started last month and is expected to wrap up in six months.

"We distributed 20 tons of the poison to two towns," said Jin Peiwu, vice director of the Shanghai Office of the Patriotic Health Campaign Committee. "If successful, it will be promoted in more areas in the city."

Unlike chemical rat poisons, the new drug is harmless to the environment, other animals and human beings. It is extracted from tripterygium wilfordii, a traditional Chinese herb.

It was developed by Ye Wenhu, a standing committee member of the Genetics Society of China and produced by Shanghai Xincheng Technology Co.

"After eating the poison, male rats will produce less sperm and finally become sterile. Though it may take several months to control the rat density, it can work for a long time," said Zhong Ji'nan, Xincheng's vice manager. "Traditional poisons kill rats immediately, while those not killed will breed more."

Local health authorities conducted a trial on the poison in urban areas in Huangpu and Luwan districts last October and the results were impressive.

Tests in 47,000 households and 5,600 work units in Huangpu District showed the density of rats was reduced by 30 percent three months after the tests and dropped by 88 percent six months later.

"So far, the rat poison is only allowed for trial sales, while the Ministry of Agriculture is likely to approve it for sales in two months," said Xincheng's Zhong.

Rats are not only harmful to forests, grassland and food storage, but also spread disease, officials said.

Rats across China eat 50 billion kilograms of grain annually, equivalent to the consumption of 100 million people.

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