Thursday, November 5, 2009

Furadan in the USA


A recent story out of the state of Missouri caught my eye because it involved the prosecution and sentencing of a man from Raymondville for using Furadan (Carbofuran) to kill wildlife. The story appeared on Nov 3rd & 4th in the on-line newspaper the Springfield News-Leader, which you can find here.

I have posted in Furadan a few times before, all to do with African wildlife, and in doing so was under the mistaken belief that the stuff was banned in North America. In Africa it has been used to deliberately kill lions and to capture huge numbers of birds. You can read about that in the blogs of March 15 & 30, May 29 and June 13 & 18.

This case is interesting because the culprit, one Eric Bryant, carried out the offense in January this year. He had treated some deer meat with the poison in an effort to control coyotes. In six weeks had killed at least three domestic dogs, several coyotes, a gray fox, a skunk, a red-tailed hawk and three American crows. These creatures were found by federal agents, and there is of course no way of knowing how many other animals perished.

My own yellow lab, Caesar, would be just as susceptible as any other dog, maybe even more so given his breed's tendency to eat anything he finds.

This just goes to show that the poison can kill a wide range of species. It acts by disrupting nerve conduction. The stuff is highly toxic to humans, and as little as a quarter tea-spoon can be fatal.

Because it is such an effective pesticide, and kills insects on contact, it is much favoured by crop producers. Farmers who apply it must do so in closed systems and one wonders how much risk the drivers of modern tractors, with their efficient air conditioners, are running. Can Furadan in a mist be brought back into the cab and create a hazard for the driver?

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