LOS ANGELES—According to a study published this week by political action committee Reform California, cities across California including Los Angeles are facing a major rat infestation problem. The study warns that without immediate action, a public health crisis will occur.  

“While the economic costs to Californians of widespread rodent infestations is significant, the public health risk is even worse. It is time for state and local government officials to acknowledge this problem and take immediate action to control on the rodent populations. Failure to do so will result in severe consequences to residents of our state,” wrote Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California. 

The study reports that the increase in the rodent population is correlated to the government elimination of rodent control methods (i.e. rodenticide), as well as the growing homeless population. Rodent infestations are dangerous since rats carry diseases like  salmonella, plague, gastrointestinal diseases, rickettsialpox and typhus. A Los Angeles police officer contracted typhus recently from a rat and one social media user posted a photo of a rat falling from a ceiling of a restaurant onto their table. 

“Instead of acting to address this developing crisis, California state lawmakers are just days away from passing legislation to ban the best rodent-control tools and methods available and would require use of less effective, so-called `green alternatives,” said DeMaio.

The study partly blames local governments for banning rodenticide due to environmental reasons, a chemical that is known to be toxic to humans. It can become highly poisonous when engulfed in wildfire and toxic for children who accidentally ingest it. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti previously cited illegal trash dumping as a leading cause for the increase of rats in Los Angeles, but has yet to make a public comment regarding the crisis.