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New Report Finds U.S. Cities More Vulnerable Than Ever to Rodent Infestation
Date:10/4/2007

Experts Warn Homeowners to Take Matters into Their Own Hands This Fall

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Oct. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Wacky weather, aging cities, and urban sprawl have rats on the move across the country. For the first time, the nation's foremost rodent experts Dale Kaukeinen and Dr. Bruce Colvin, have developed an assessment on the country's rodent problem. Kaukeinen and Colvin used the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics to reveal risk factors related to cities and their environments. The report, sponsored by d-CON(R), America's leading brand of rodenticide(*), identifies four key risk factors plaguing cities from New York to El Paso, Texas to Long Beach, California, and many more across the country, including:

-- Aging Infrastructure -- According to Kaukeinen and Colvin, antiquated

city structures are contributing to increased rodent activity. Older

cities are experiencing aging infrastructure such as sewer systems,

streets, sidewalks, areas of older un-kept housing and subway

systems. Looking at the 30 largest metropolitan areas of the U.S.,

four cities (New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit) are over 300

years old, and 11 cities are over 200 years old.(1)

-- Resurgence of U.S. Cities as Residential Areas -- According to the US

Census Bureau, metropolitan areas in the U.S. grew by nearly 10%

during the 1990s, with the greatest growth in the South and West.(2)

Over the past few decades, cities across the country have experienced

gentrification and development with a resurgence in living space,

construction, and expanding shopping and cultural centers. This

trend is proving to be an ideal environment for rodents due to the

density of people and the abundance of food waste from residents,

businesses and local eateries.

-- Unseasonably Warm and Wet Weather -- Cities with warm, wet conditions

this past year have higher risk factors for increased deterioration

of structures and support the growth of lush weeds and overgrown

areas providing natural food and cover for rodents. Warmer weather

also aids rodent survival and reproductive rates. According to

reports by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, temperatures in

the Northeast and Midwest have risen four degrees and the amount of

rain and snow has increased from 4% -- 20% over the past century.(3)

-- Rodent Mitigation Funding -- Kaukeinen and Colvin note the cities

across the country no longer receive federal subsidies for rodent

programs as was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. Twelve to $15

million dollars was awarded yearly during that era to over 100

communities specifically for rodent control programs that included

surveys, education, improved sanitation and baiting.(4) Kaukeinen

and Colvin say that states and local municipalities have not picked

up the gap in funding, opting to take a reactive approach by

responding to complaints, rather than executing proactive citywide

plans.

"It is important to assess risk factors, so that cities and consumers are aware of a potential problem, and are equipped with the tools and knowledge to control immediate issues and implement long-term solutions." said Dale Kaukeinen. "These risk factors have created a perfect environment for the survival of a robust rodent population. More than ever, people need to take measures to prevent rodent infestations from occurring in their businesses and homes."

Homeowners Beware

Rodents can gnaw through metal, plastic and wood, damaging furniture and homes, and can destroy electrical wiring and insulation, causing fires and other problems. These issues are a reality for many homeowners as rodents can enter a home through a dime-sized crack in the foundation. In addition, rodents can bite people, especially small children, and are known carriers of a variety of diseases, including hantavirus, salmonella and leptospirosis. Rodents have also been linked to childhood allergies and asthma.

The fall season is when most rodent infestations occur, as rodents reach their annual abundance. As the weather cools in much of the country, rats and mice move inside in search of food and shelter.

Help Is On The Way

To prevent increased rodent infestations this fall, Kaukeinen and Colvin have teamed up with the d-CON(R) to launch the "Good Riddance to Rodents" campaign. Kaukeinen and Colvin will be traveling to cities across the country to educate community leaders on the threat rodents present, and to provide tips, training, and prevention techniques on how to combat the impending problem. For homeowners, Kaukeinen and Colvin offer five simple tips:

1. Keep all trash in sealed containers and remove junk piles

2. Don't leave food out on counters overnight and limit access to pet food

and bird seed

3. Seal up any holes or cracks in foundations (rodents can fit through a

hole the size of a dime)

4. Cut brush and bushes back at least a foot from the home/building

5. Stock up on baits and traps, such as d-CON(R) brand, to manage

infestations effectively

The full 2007 Rodent Risk Assessment is available upon request. For more information on d-CON(R) brand products, please visit http://www.d-conproducts.com.

About the 2007 Rodent Risk Assessment

This 2007 Rodent Risk Assessment was developed by using the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics to reveal 14 risk factors related to cities and their environments. These factors included everything from human population, climate, and solid waste management to annual rainfall -- common causes of rodent infestation. The 2007 Rodent Risk Assessment also highlights the cities at greatest risk of having increased rodent problems this fall including, New York; Houston; Boston; Louisville, Ky.; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; El Paso, Texas; Milwaukee, Wis.; Long Beach, Calif.; Detroit; Fort Worth, Texas; San Antonio; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Dallas; Memphis, Tenn.; San Jose, Calif. and Nashville, Tenn. The authors of the report, Kaukeinen and Colvin, have been involved in the research and development of many of today's most innovative pest control products, strategies and programs.

About d-CON(R)

d-CON(R) is America's #1 rodent control brand(*), successfully killing rodents for more than 50 years. The brand's iconic yellow box, arrow logo, and wedge-shaped containers have served for years as a visual guidepost for consumer choice. The brand offers a comprehensive line of rodent control products including five baits and four traps. d-CON(R) products are sold in a variety of retail environments including home centers, mass merchandisers, home improvement and hardware stores, drug stores and supermarkets.

About Reckitt Benckiser

Reckitt Benckiser Inc. is a subsidiary of U.K.-based Reckitt Benckiser plc, the world leader in household cleaning (excluding laundry) and a major player in health and personal care. Reckitt Benckiser Inc. manufactures, markets and sells household, cleaning and specialty food products in North America. These products include Lysol(R) cleaners and disinfectants, Air Wick(R) air fresheners, Resolve(R) cleaners, Electrasol(R) automatic dishwasher detergent, Veet(R) depilatory, Jet-Dry(R) rinse agent, Spray 'n Wash(R) laundry stain removers, and French's(R) foods, including Mustard and GourMayo(TM).

With more than 20,000 employees, operations in 60 countries and sales in 180 countries, as well as global sales of more than $5 billion, Reckitt Benckiser is among the top 30 companies in the FTSE 100 index, is a constituent of the MSCI Global Index and S&P Global 350, and is in the Forbes International 500 and Business Week European Top 50. For additional information about Reckitt Benckiser, visit http://www.reckittbenckiser.com.

(1) The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2007, World Alamanac, 1008 pages,

city section, 2006

(2) http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/p25-1133.pdf

(3) http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/nacc/background/regions.htm

(4) B.A. Colvin & W.B. Jackson, 'Urban Rodent Control Programs for the

21st Century', In: Singleton, G.R. et al (eds.), Ecologically-Based

Management of Rodent Pests, ACIAR Monograph No. 59, Melbourne

Australia, pp. 243-257, 1999

*Source: AC Nielsen unit share 52 week data, pe ending 9/15/07


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SOURCE d-CON
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