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PestiBytes Episode 20: Slug Baits with Iron Phosphate

headphones Introduction/Conclusion: Dr. Dave Stone, Director of the National Pesticide Information Center
Host: Dixie Jackson, NPIC Pesticide Specialist
Guest: Veterinarian Dr. Fred Berman DVM, PhD, Director of the OIOHS Toxicology Information Center

DR. STONE: Welcome to PestiBytes, a podcast series from the National Pesticide Information Center. These are based on common pesticide questions from people just like you.


DIXIE: This is Dixie, and I'm here with Dr. Fred Berman to discuss pesticides used for slugs and snails. Dr. Berman, are products containing iron phosphate safe to be used around pets?

DR. BERMAN: Well, safe is not a helpful word, because no pesticide is risk-free. Iron phosphate-containing slug baits appear to be less hazardous to dogs than the alternative, metaldehyde-containing products. However, there have been case reports where dogs became ill after eating slug baits with iron phosphate. Iron phosphate alone is generally recognized as safe, because it's not well absorbed by the body. However, to make products effective against slugs, they often contain chelating agents that increase the absorption of iron.

DIXIE: Does that mean only slugs and snails will absorb the iron?

DR. BERMAN: No. Although the label may say it can be used around pets and wildlife, any animal could be sickened if they ate enough of the product. They might have signs like vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, dehydration, or diarrhea. These signs might not appear for days after eating the product.

DIXIE: How can I protect my pets if I need to use slug & snail bait?

DR. BERMAN: First, store the product in a place where pets cannot reach it. These products are attractive, and dogs will seek them out in accessible cupboards and shelves. Second, when using the product, don't create piles of bait. Distribute the granules evenly. Wet the soil before making the application, as directed by the label, and keep your pets out of the area until the granules have dissolved, and are no longer visible.

DIXIE: Thank you! That's very helpful Dr. Berman.

DR. BERMAN: You're welcome.


DR. STONE: If you have questions about pesticides, please call us at 1-800-858-7378 or visit us on the web at http://npic.orst.edu. PestiBytes is brought to you by the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency. These are produced in collaboration with OSU's Environmental Health Sciences Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

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If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at npic@ace.orst.edu.

Last updated August 14, 2014

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