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'Two-Step' a danger to toddlers

While the cheap ‘Two-Step’ rat poison can get the job done, it can also take a little one’s life.

ldicarb, also known as ‘Two-Step’ is intended for agricultural purposes only but many Capetonians have been using it to control the rat problem in their communities. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town said on Tuesday its efforts in trying to prevent the sale of a new deadly rat poison is proving to be fruitless.

Aldicarb, also known as 'Two-Step' is intended for agricultural purposes.

But is instead being used in some informal settlements to kill rats.

The substance is readily being sold.

The University of Cape Town's Doctor Andrea Rother said it shouldn't be used domestically.

"It's not a rat or rodent control pesticide. It is actually used in agriculture. What we were finding was that because of toxicity of it, people were using it for rat control."

The cheap rat poison can be bought from vendors in the CBD for just R5.

The poison, packaged in short straws, is mixed with certain foodstuffs to attract the rodents.

But experts warn people could be at risk.

Desperate Capetonians, primarily living in informal settlements are relying on a poison intended for agricultural purposes to combat rat infestations.

'Two-Step' is apparently so deadly that after consuming the poison, a rat will take no more than two steps before it's killed.

But Doctor Clare Roberts of the Red Cross Children's Hospital said the poison isn't just harmful to rats.

"The contents of one of those little half sealed straws contains quite enough to kill a toddler."

Roberts said more than 300 cases of pesticide poisoning were reported at the hospital between 2003 and 2008, with 21 children admitted to high or intensive care.

The poison has apparently been around for several years, but is only now gaining momentum.

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