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Sodium fluoroacetate
(aka, sodium monofluoroacetate, compound 1080 or 1080)

1080 is a potent metabolic poison that works by interfering with the citric acid cycle, and is used primarily to control mammalian pests, including invasive species. The existence of this chemical was first noted in the Second World War.


Sodium fluoroacetate is used as a rodenticide. Farmers and graziers use the poison to protect pastures and crops from various herbivorous mammals. It is used in New Zealand to control the Common Brushtail Possum. Other countries using 1080 in large quantities include Australia, Mexico and Israel.

World’s largest 1080 user

New Zealand, probably the most toxic travel destination in the world, is the largest user of sodium fluoroacetate anywhere. Environmentalists report that NZ government agencies are increasingly using large scale indiscriminate aerial applications to cut costs. New Zealand releases about two and a half tons of compound 1080 into its environment each year, about 90% of the global use. [Enough poison to kill the entire population of New Zealand 15 times over, if administered orally!]

Compound 1080 is the most toxic pesticide registered by the World Health Organization, WHO. It is rarely used in the U.S. because it is highly toxic and kills wildlife indiscriminately. The only manufacturer of 1080 left in the U.S., Tull Chemical Co. in Oxford, Ala., ships most of its production to New Zealand.

ACUTE TOXICITY DATA – Lethal dose (LD) data:

Human data: The probable oral lethal dose has been reported to be 50 mg [Deichmann and Gerarde 1969]. Note. An oral dose of 50 mg is equivalent to a person being exposed to about 30 mg/m3 for 30 minutes, assuming a breathing rate of 50 liters per minute and 100% absorption.

Note. One milligram (1mg) is 1/1000th of 1g , 1 millionth of 1kg. An average grain of wheat weighs about 64mg

Common Brushtail Possum. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
European settlers aiming to establish a fur industry introduced the Common Brushtail to New Zealand, where they are now regarded as undesirable. The worst ecological damage to NZ environment, however, is caused by human activities such as agriculture, forestry, mining and tourism.

Mechanism of action

Fluoroacetate disrupts the citric acid cycle (also known as the Krebs cycle) by combining with coenzyme A to form fluoroacetyl CoA, this is then substituted for acetyl CoA in the citric acid cycle and reacts with citrate synthase to produce fluorocitrate. A metabolite of fluorocitrate binds very tightly to aconitase, thereby halting the citric acid cycle. This results in an accumulation of citrate in the blood which deprives cells of energy.


In humans the symptoms of poisoning normally appear between 30 minutes and three hours after exposure. Initial symptoms typically include nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain; sweating, confusion and agitation follow. In significant poisoning cardiac abnormalities including tachycardia or bradycardia, hypotension and ECG changes develop. Neurological effects include muscle twitching and seizures; Consciousness becomes progressively impaired after a few hours leading to coma. Death is generally due to Ventricular arrhythmias, progressive hypotension unresponsive to treatment, and secondary lung infections.


Because of the biochemical interference in the TCA or Krebs Cycle, sodium fluoroacetate poisoning is very difficult to treat, as once clinical symptoms are shown, the Krebs Cycle has shut down. There is no known effective antidote.

Sources of the above quotes: CDSNIOSH; Wikipedia; MSU [with minor editing by FEWW.]

7 Responses to “1080”

  1. D. H. said

    Formula threat: John Key is NZ’s ‘number one eco-terrorist’, says campaigner
    A leading Kiwi environmental activist’s response to the Prime Minister’s description of the 1080 infant formula scare as “eco-terrorism” has gone viral.

    Steve Abel, who is the climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace, called John Key “New Zealand’s number one eco-terrorist” on his personal Facebook page, providing an extensive list of the ways he believes Key and his government have damaged New Zealand’s natural environment. The post has been shared almost 700 times, reaching tens of thousands of people.

    “I woke up at 4.30am this morning incensed by John Key calling the infant formula blackmailer an eco-terrorist. Whatever the rationale of the reckless idiot who threatened to put 1080 in infant formula, Key’s use of it as a chance to take a swipe at the environment movement by implying that person is driven by environmental motives was scurrilous and it reminded me of who the real eco-terrorist is in this country.

    “Eco-terrorism is watching fresh water quality decline and rivers turn toxic while pushing the expansion of destructive irrigation and dirty dairying.

    “Eco-terrorism is giving away vast tracts of our territorial oceans to foreign oil companies to do risky deep sea drilling with zero process for public input.

    “Eco-terrorism is underfunding biosecurity so that Queensland fruit fly can even get into NZ in the first place.

    “Eco-terrorism is refusing to expand the sanctuary of the world’s rarest dolphin of which there are only 55 left.

    “Eco-terrorism is gutting the Resource Management Act even more, so that cutting down 500 year old Kauri trees gets even easier.

    “Eco-terrorism is allowing New Zealand’s last remaining limestone escarpment ecology on the West Coast (Denniston Plateau) to be destroyed by an Aussie coal mining company.

    “Eco-terrorism is completely failing to institute a strategy for reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and expanding our clean innovation capability while climate change hammers the world with extreme storms droughts and wildfires.

    “Eco-terrorism is spending multiple billions of dollars on new unnecessary motorways and a pittance on public transport and urban cycle-ways and pedestrians.

    “Eco-terrorism is allowing oil and gas frackers to waste millions of litres of fresh water and spread toxic waste over farmland in Taranaki.

    “Eco terrorism is not funding the Department of Conservation enough that they can use 1080 and put in place other pest management and eradication strategies to properly protect our invaluable native forests and species.

    “John Key is New Zealand’s number one eco-terrorist.”

    • feww said

      Thanks, DH.
      Replaced “corporate-style democracy” with “Eco-terrorism” and the text still made perfect sense. The two terms are clearly identical and interchangeable.

  2. Joe said

    [Thanks! Moderator]

  3. terry said

    Dept of Conservation new zealand use 90% of all 1080 produced and a very large amount aerially,including waterways, house supply streams .a lot of farm stock have also been acc poisoned … In fact story has it powers that be are trying to buy tull chemicals. Now i see here how low an you go deleting wikipedia 1080 info to further their means . It’s a disgrace here what’s occuring. Doc spin doctors promoting this evil indiscriminate deadly poison are very active and praise the fact it kills vermin but will not answer questions they do ot like ..see utube doc public relations officers videos ,,,,trakabat.. speaks for itself ..This stuff has to be banned at all costs … Terry

  4. […] 1080 […]

  5. te2ataria said

    NZ SIS Agent Hacks Wikipedia

  6. feww said

    A New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) employee deleted anti-1080 information from a Wikipedia page. See below for report.

    Clearly, removing important public information from an international site is not the kind of action normally associated with an ‘ordinary’ government employee, unless s/he had a direct, personal stake in the issue.

    DOC staff member deleted info from 1080 Wikipedia
    NZPA July 27, 2009, 4:43 pm
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is working to track down a staff member who deleted anti-1080 information from a Wikipedia page while at work.

    The staffer deleted a reference to films against the poison on Friday from the online encyclopaedia’s “1080 usage in New Zealand” page, The Press reported.

    A link to the Stop 1080 Poison lobby group was also removed.

    The amendments were traced to DOC through its internet protocol address.

    DOC spokesman Rory Newsam told NZPA that IT staff were working to track down where on the department’s 1800-computer network the deletion was made, before steps were taken to find out which staff member was involved.

    It was hoped the computer used would be identified within the next 48 hours.

    The action was a breach of DOC’s internet-use policy, Mr Newsam said.

    He was unable to say what sort of action would be taken against the employee.

    The removed sentences read: “Steve and Clyde Graf have produced two DVDs about the effects of 1080 on New Zealand wildlife.

    “The first, A Shadow of Doubt, released in 2006 and rated Adults Only (AO), is a 90-minute feature film. The second film, Paradise Poisoned, was released in July 2009.”

    Christchurch man Alan Liefting, who set up the “1080 usage in New Zealand” page last September, resurrected the information within 30 minutes.

    He told The Press debate was being “stifled” by “bad-faith editing” by public servants wasting their time.

    “It’s not up to DOC employees to do this sort of thing.”
    Copyright NZPA

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