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Birth control for rats originated at University of Arizona and will now be used in New York

Posted at 9:51 PM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-12 13:24:41-04

In 1989, the now retired University of Arizona professor Patricia Hoyer came up with a way to control rodent problems by researching a chemical known as 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide or VCD. 

"They call it fertility as opposed to poisoning the animals," said Hoyer. 

VCD is a chemical that damages the ovaries of mice and rats. 

SenesTech, a Flagstaff company, uses the chemical in their product called ContraPest, which is a liquid bait that attracts rats. 

"They wanted to develop a bait that would be attractive to wild rats and it's a liquid bait that larger animals can't get into and because it's really dependent on the concentration," she explained. "Larger animals wouldn't really have repeated exposure and number two, would not be in a dose enough it would cause harm."

Hoyer says the Environmental Protection Agency approved the product because it's an alternative to using rat poison. 

The product is non-toxic, won't hard the environment or kill a rat. 

ContraPest is now peeking the interest of heavily populated cities across the country to control its rodent problem. 

A SenesTech spokesperson says they recently partnered up with the New York Department of Health to target rat infestations in the city. 

Currently, the department is putting out monitors to test heavily rat populated locations and will begin using the bait next month.