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Rating the risks of anticoagulant rodenticides in the aquatic environment: A review

: Regnery, Julia; Friesen, Anton; Geduhn, Anke; Göckener, Bernd; Kotthoff, Matthias; Parrhysius, Pia; Petersohn, Eleonora; Reifferscheid, Georg; Schmolz, Erik; Schulz, Robert S.; Schwarzbauer, Jan; Brinke, Marvin


Environmental chemistry letters 17 (2019), No.1, pp.215-240
ISSN: 1610-3653
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()
bioaccumulation; biocide; exposure; second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides; sewer baiting; toxicity

Anticoagulant rodenticides are used worldwide to control commensal rodents for hygienic and public health reasons. As anticoagulants act on all vertebrates, risk is high for unintentional poisoning of terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. Causative associations have been demonstrated for the unintended poisoning of terrestrial nontarget organisms. However, behavior and fate of anticoagulant rodenticides in the aquatic environment have received minimal attention in the past despite considerable acute toxicity of several anticoagulants to aquatic species such as fish. In light of recent regulatory developments in the European Union concerning rodenticides, we critically review available information on the environmental occurrence, fate, and impact of anticoagulant rodenticides in the aquatic environment and identify potential risks and routes of exposure as well as further research needs. Recent findings of anticoagulant rodenticides in raw and treated wastewater, sewage sludge, estuarine sediments, suspended particulate matter, and liver tissue of freshwater fish in the low ng/L and µg/kg range, respectively, demonstrate that the aquatic environment experiences a greater risk of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure than previously thought. While the anticoagulant’s mechanism of action from the molecular through cellular levels is well understood, substantial data gaps exist regarding the understanding of exposure pathways and potential adverse effects of chronic exposure with multiple active ingredients. Anticoagulants accumulating in aquatic wildlife are likely to be transferred in the food chain, causing potentially serious consequences for the health of wildlife and humans alike.