Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) are widely used to control rodent populations, resulting in the serious secondary exposure of predators to these contaminants. In the United Kingdom (UK), professional use and purchase of SGARs were revised in the 2010s. Certain highly toxic SGARs have been authorized since then to be used outdoors around buildings as resistance-breaking chemicals under risk mitigation procedures. However, it is still uncertain whether and how these regulatory changes have influenced the secondary exposure of birds of prey to SGARs. Based on biomonitoring of the UK Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo) collected from 2001 to 2019, we assessed the temporal trend of exposure to SGARs and statistically determined potential turning points. The magnitude of difenacoum decreased over time with a seasonal fluctuation, while the magnitude and prevalence of more toxic brodifacoum, authorized to be used outdoors around buildings after the regulatory changes, increased. The summer of 2016 was statistically identified as a turning point for exposure to brodifacoum and summed SGARs that increased after this point. This time point coincided with the aforementioned regulatory changes. Our findings suggest a possible shift in SGAR use to brodifacoum from difenacoum over the decades, which may pose higher risks of impacts on wildlife.

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Environmental Science & Technology

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Staff publications

Ozaki, Shinji, Movalli, P., Cincinelli, Alessandra, Alygizakis, Nikiforos, Badry, Alexander, Carter, Heather, … Walker, Lee. (2024). Significant turning point: common buzzard (Buteo buteo) exposure to second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides in the United Kingdom. Environmental Science & Technology, 2024(3c09052). doi:10.1021/acs.est.3c09052