The amusing name belied the deadly and illegal contents. “The Cat Be Unemployed” read the package, featuring a yellow background with a bright-eyed cartoon feline and thick black Chinese characters underneath. Within, was rat poison, and the chemical brodifacoum at 61 times its legal limit. It doesn’t kill just rodents.
NYT reports that the package was among 6,000 rat poisons and pesticides authorities seized from stores in New York’s Chinatown after a 5-month undercover investigation. The investigation was launched after a woman mistook the poison for her blood medication and ingested it, losing two-thirds of her blood volume as the anticoagulants took hold in her body. Officials say that if a small child ingested the material, it would die.
“All across the city we find products like these,” Judith Enck, the E.P.A.’s regional administrator, said at a news conference. “People and businesses that make and sell these products are playing Russian roulette with people’s health.”
“Unfortunately, these are readily available and there is an assumption that if they’re sold in stores, they’re legal,” she said. “And another reason is they are relatively cheap.”
12 Held in Sale of Pest Poisons, One 60 Times as Potent as the Legal Limit [NYT] (Thanks to GitEmSteveDave!)