Secondary Poisoning Risk to Humans

When you decide to kill a rat or any nuisance pest, you should consider the more significant consequences of your decision before doing so. The poison might come into touch with humans or other animals, such as your pets, either directly or indirectly. This is a danger that must be ignored. As a result of this, there is a risk of primary as well as secondary poisoning.

Primary vs Secondary Poisoning

When humans come into contact with rodenticides and other poisons used for pest management, they risk both primary and secondary poisoning. Direct contact with the poison would be considered primary poisoning, whereas secondary poisoning would relate to interaction with a poisoned animal that transferred part of the poison to the person.

The following are some examples of the primary forms of poisoning:

  • The possibility of a young kid discovering the poison and putting it in their mouth,
  • If you made the mistake of touching the poison while preparing it, did not realise what you had done, and then touched your lips or eyes.

The most clear-cut case of secondary poisoning in humans would be if someone touched a poisoned animal after it had died to remove the toxin, then neglected to wash their hands, and then proceeded to touch their eyes or mouth after that. It is also possible to obtain secondary poisoning if you consume a poisoned rodent; however, this is very rare due to cultural conventions and practices.

A person can get poisoned if they consume an animal that has eaten another animal that has been poisoned or if they consume a non-target animal that has accidentally come into contact with the poison.

Symptoms that may occur in humans as a result of either secondary or primary poisoning

Suppose you are worried about the possibility of people being poisoned by rodenticides due to secondary exposure. In that case, you should educate yourself on the symptoms and possible outcomes of disclosing some of the most frequent active chemicals in rodenticides.

It is important to remember that the signs and symptoms of secondary poisoning will be identical to those of initial poisoning.

You should also bear in mind that in many instances, human victims and animal victims of poisoning may exhibit symptoms that are pretty similar to one another.

Anticoagulant Rodenticides

The majority of rodenticides now available on the market are anticoagulants. A secondary poisoning caused by these might result in:

  • uncontrollable bleeding
  • vomiting
  • paleness
  • seizures
  • pain
  • shaking
  • weakness
  • difficulty breathing
  • lethargy
  • blood in stools
  • abdominal distension

These indications may appear in all animals.

When it comes to individuals, it is more probable that they may detect abrupt bleeding from the skin, gums, or nose. Sometimes, you may only notice symptoms if you ingest small enough doses. Consider purchasing one of the rodenticides that have a colour so that you can tell whether your kid touches it or consumes it if they get into it. This is a good option if you are worried about your children getting into this rodenticide.


When a variety of animals ingests significant amounts of bromethalin, it may cause increased sensitivity to light and convulsions and tremors in their muscles. Those who come into contact with this substance may suffer changes in their mental states.


People exposed to this chemical are more prone to unusually high levels of thirst and increased urination. This may also harm the kidneys and the heart if the exposure lasts for an extended time or if the high calcium levels caused by it persist.


This common toxin may cause severe involuntary muscular spasms, the symptoms of which can range from cramping to the elongation of the limbs, even to complete paralysis. It may take as little as 15 minutes for a person to begin feeling symptoms. Because of the difficulty in breathing, death may result.

Zinc Phosphide

If a human consumes this common active component found in rodenticides, they will suffer the following side effects:

  • excitement
  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • delirium
  • coma
  • convulsions
  • anxiousness

If you breathe in the dust or gas linked with zinc phosphide, it might cause you to have a hard time living and cause you to feel worried.

Reducing the Risk of Human Secondary Poisoning

Never consume any part of an animal that may have been contaminated with poison since this is the essential step in preventing further poisoning. Although this is not likely to provide a problem from a cultural perspective, it is nevertheless significant enough to bring out. It is more probable that a person may unintentionally ingest an animal that has consumed a poisoned animal. Thus it is essential to remember that this is also a possibility. You should also remember that even if an animal was not the original target of your poison, it is still possible that the animal swallowed it. When applying rodenticides near cattle that you intend to consume in the future or sell for consumption, you should exercise extreme caution.

When handling poisoned animals, you should likewise use the utmost caution at all times. Because keeping and disposing of animals is the most prevalent method by which humans are exposed to secondary toxins, it is necessary to take precautions. Wear gloves, and avoid touching the deceased rodents with bare hands at any time. After getting rid of them, you should be sure to wash your hands properly and any other areas of your body that may have been contaminated.

Be aware of primary poisoning as well.

When using rodenticides, it is essential to be mindful of the possibility that people may suffer from primary poisoning. Suppose you have small children or anybody else who may accidentally ingest the poison or come into touch with it. In that case, you should store all baits and toxins in an inaccessible position.

  • Always use extreme caution to avoid coming into contact with the poison when it is being prepared.
  • Think about putting on some disposable gloves.
  • You should put on a mask no matter what kind of toxin you are dealing with, but zinc phosphide necessitates doing so.
  • After administering the poison, you should carefully wash any part of your body that may have come into touch with it, including your hands, arms, and any other area that may have been affected.

When getting rid of the remaining poison, use the same safety measures, such as throwing away empty bait trays. Even if everything has been removed, traces of it will almost certainly be left behind.

What to Do If Poisoning Occurs

Always go to the doctor as soon as possible if you have any reason to think you may have been poisoned by a rodenticide or another kind of poison. This is true regardless of whether the poisoning resulted from primary or secondary exposure. Bring as much information as possible to the doctor, including the toxin you were exposed to and how you believe you were told. You must visit the nearest emergency facility for early care if your symptoms are severe. You may always phone your primary care physician and ask for their advice if you are unclear about whether the circumstances merit a trip to the emergency room or a visit to your regular doctor.

Also Checkout: Low Toxicity Rodenticides Such as Powdered Corn Cob or Corn Meal Gluten

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