New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2011) 56(3): 9–10
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
Sodium Monofluoroacetate (1080)
W.F. (Bill) Benfield
1080 was originally patented in 1927 as an insecticide, it was not recommended for commercial use due to its high toxicity and persistence. (1) The name 1080 comes from its laboratory ascension number at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Centre in Maryland. The United States was the first country to use 1080 in pest destruction programmes, though its use is now banned there except for specific situations where permits are required. Its use is totally banned in the State of California. In New Zealand it is the poison of choice for just about all pest control work, from possums and wasps to rats. It is also claimed that, through secondary poisoning, it can “target” stoats. Our small country spreads by air around 90% of the total world production of 1080, enough to kill around 20 million people per annum, on its lands, forests and waters. (2) Its mode of action is to interrupt the Krebs cycle, a process by which all oxygen breathing creatures convert carbohydrate and oxygen to energy, carbon dioxide and water. Technically, it can kill most things but varying susceptibility means that some, like fish or freshwater crayfish, can consume without obvious effect amounts that would kill other creatures.