Often found in rodenticide baits, zinc pellets contain phosphide. The phosphine, which is an inorganic compound, is toxic to people and animals.
Zinc phosphide is a powerful acute rodenticide. It is broken down into less toxic compounds in acidic conditions. In humans, it can be exposed through skin or inhaled. Affected individuals are likely to develop a headache, dizziness, and breathing difficulties.
Birds are highly susceptible to the effects of phosphine. If you find a bird in your area that appears to be suffering from poisoning, you should consider placing the pellets out of their reach. You can also try placing the bait in a dry, cool place.
If you are planning to use baits with zinc phosphide, you should place them away from children and pets. Children may be more sensitive to pesticides.
The amount of phosphine released from a pellet depends on the formulation. Bait pellets are often flavored with ingredients to appeal to pets.
Zinc pellets are made in custom sizes. Some pellets are coated with polysaccharide to prevent release.
Sodium hydroxide can be used to form basic zinc residue. This residue can be a fire hazard.
The International Society for Zinc Biology (ISZB) is a nonprofit organization devoted to scientific research on zinc. Researchers from around the world have joined together to advance knowledge on this important trace element.
The American Zinc Association offers information about zinc. The ISZB has a database of binding sites for zinc.