US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Environ. Sci. Technol. 2014, 48, 8433−8445


U.S. Government Work


Despite a long history of successful use, routine application of some anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs) may be at a crossroad due to new regulatory guidelines intended to mitigate risk. An adverse outcome pathway for ARs was developed to identify information gaps and end points to assess the effectiveness of regulations. This framework describes chemical properties of ARs, established macromolecular interactions by inhibition of vitamin K epoxide reductase, cellular responses including altered clotting factor processing and coagulopathy, organ level effects such as hemorrhage, organism responses with linkages to reduced fitness and mortality, and potential consequences to predator populations. Risk assessments have led to restrictions affecting use of some second-generation ARs (SGARs) in North America. While the European regulatory community highlighted significant or unacceptable risk of ARs to nontarget wildlife, use of SGARs in most EU member states remains authorized due to public health concerns and the absence of safe alternatives. For purposes of conservation and restoration of island habitats, SGARs remain a mainstay for eradication of invasive species. There are significant data gaps related to exposure pathways, comparative species sensitivity, consequences of sublethal effects, potential hazards of greater AR residues in genetically resistant prey, effects of low-level exposure to multiple rodenticides, and quantitative data on the magnitude of nontarget wildlife mortality.