THE NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is moving to swiftly minimise further damage from the off-label use of agricultural mouse bait in domestic situations.
The unregistered use of the MouseOfff bait had disastrous consequences, with people hospitalised due to suspected poisoning from phosphine gas produced by the zinc phosphide-based bait, with the product especially dangerous to children.
The EPA said it would help all people that have used MouseOff inside their house to remove and dispose of it.
Representatives from the organisation will also travel to Coonamble, in western NSW and the epicentre of the suspected poisonings, to discuss the matter with concerned members of the public.
In the interim, those who have placed the bait in their house are urged to call the 24-hour Environment Line for advice and to register for free removal and disposal.
The risk is highest when the bait has been placed indoors and there is a particularly high risk where the bait has been placed in ventilation areas, with NSW Health warning the phosphine gas can cause poisoning or suffocation in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces.
Symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, fever, cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness, with the EPA urging anyone suffering from symptoms to call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
EPA executive director of regulatory operations Carmen Dwyer said the EPA was aware residents may have used products not meant for domestic settings, or mouse baits without the original packaging and safe handling instructions, hence the offer of assistance.
"The EPA is concerned that these products may be inside homes and we want to ensure family members and pets are not at risk," Ms Dwyer said.
"In some cases, the product may already have been eaten by mice but if there is any leftover product please ring the EPA for free support and advice," she said
"The EPA is offering to arrange a free service by a licensed pest technician to remove this mouse bait and clean the area to ensure your home is safe.
We don't want residents disturbing bait if it has been placed in ceiling cavities, instead it is safer to leave it and ask for assistance."
Looking forward, Ms Dwyer said it was a wake-up call to ensure people baiting inside for mice were using a suitable product.
"Please ensure you do not use commercial or agricultural products in a domestic setting,'' she said.
"There are products that can be used in homes and it is important to ensure you are using the correct bait."
Once armed with a safe product, she said residents needed to adhere to label instructions.
"These products must be used responsibly to ensure your family is kept safe."
For more information on safe removal, please contact the EPA's Environment Line on 131 555.