Sodium fluoroacetate (1080)



Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is a naturally occurring poison found in plants in Australia, South Africa and Brazil.  1080 is highly toxic to mammals, including humans, and is primarily used for protecting sheep and goats from predatory coyotes (predacide). In the Unites States, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana are the only states that provide the required certification and training programs for use of 1080.  Within those states, application is restricted based on potential harm to endangered species (#EPA 1995).   In New Zealand, 1080 has been widely used for the control of non-native rodents, such as possums, that have no natural predators (#AHB 2002).  New Zealand has used 1080 for pest control since the 1950's, while the United States began use in the 1940's (#AHB 2002, #EPA 1995).

Chemical Description

Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is a fluoroacetic acid.  It is an alkaline, tan powder with a melting point of 197-203 °C.  A similar compound, fluoroacetamide (1081), also exists (#EPA 1995).


United States:

1080 is used to prevent predatory coyotes from harming sheep or goats in fenced pastures.   Sheep and goats wear Livestock Protection Collars containing a lethal dose of 1080.  When coyotes attempt to kill their prey, they puncture the collars, thus ingesting the poison.  There are maximum numbers of collars allowed in an acreage of fenced pasture, for instance, 20 collars are allowed for 100 acre and smaller pastures.  One collar contains 0.00067 lbs active ingredient (#EPA 1995).

New Zealand:

1080 is commonly used in New Zealand to control possum populations as well as other invasive rodents.  It may be applied in small cereal pellets, or by ground in the form of baited carrots (#AHB 2002). 


The toxic nature of fluoroacetic acids were discovered in western Australian and South African plants, where accidental poisoning of livestock occurred (#EPA 1995). 

The earliest documented synthesis of fluoroacetic acid was by a Belgian scientist.  In the 1930's, Germany patented the acid and it was used as a moth deterrent.  It was separately discovered by Polish military researchers in the late 1930's and tested during World War II in Nazi-occupied countries.  Scientists in England learned of the compound from a Polish scientist who escaped to England (#EPA 1995).

In the 1940's, the United States continued fluoroacetic acid compound research, and sodium fluoroacetate and a related compound fluoroacetamide were both developed as rodenticides.  Restrictions and regulations were placed on both compounds throughout the 1970's and 1980's, and fluoroacetamide was cancelled in 1989.  Sodium fluoroacetate remains in use, but only for livestock protection collars, and certification must be obtained.  U.S. Department of Agriculture is the registrant, while Tull Chemical Company manufactures the compound (#EPA 1995).

Routes of Exposure and Metabolism

The most toxic route of exposure for mammals is an oral dose.  Dermal exposures can also be toxic, and eye irritation has also been documented (#EPA 1995).

Rat oral LD50: 0.22mg/kg
Rabbit dermal LD50: 277.1 mg/kg males, 324.2 mg/kg females
Dog oral LD50: 0.066mg/kg
Mallard duck oral LD50: 9.1 mg/kg

Upon entering a mammalian body, 1080 is converted to fluorocitrate, which inhibits an enzyme critical to the citric acid (Kreb's)  cycle. For sublethal doses, 1080 is metabolized and excreted within 1-4 days (#AHB 2002).

Human Health Effects

1080 is highly toxic to humans, with a toxic dose of 0.5-2.0mg/kg. Symptoms of 1080 poisoning include convulsions, vomiting, cardiac failure and respiratory failure (#EPA 1995). Sublethal doses can cause damage to organs including heart, liver, lungs, testes and kidneys.  Organs with high metabolic demands (heart, testes) are the most affected (#AHB 2002).

 Environmental Effects

1080 is not considered a persistent compound, since it is metabolized by biological systems, including soil microorganisms.   In sterile and cold environments, 1080 will degrade more slowly. Undegraded 1080 may have the potential to leach into water (#EPA 1995, #AHB 2002).

For freshwater fish and aquatic invertebrates, 1080 is slightly toxic and practically nontoxic, respectively (#AHB 2002).


United States:

The primary concern with 1080 use is non-target species exposure.  This can occur by scavenging of a carcass containing 1080, spillage of 1080 from a punctured collar onto the ground, consumption of vomit from a poisoned coyote, or consumption of contaminated sheep or goat carcasses (#EPA 1995).

New Zealand:

Aerial applications of pellets containing 1080 have caused unintentional deaths in deer, but the deer population typically recovers in 3-5 years.  Unintentional deaths also occur in pets occasionally, since dogs are especially sensitive to the poison (AHB 2002).


United States Environmental Protection Agency. 1995. "Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Sodium Fluoroacetate."  [Accessed 05-19-11]

Animal Health Board. 2002. "Technial review of Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) toxicology." [Accessed 05-19-11]

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  1. Dear Allison Camp - sadly your thesis on the compound 1080 (sodium mono fluoroacetate) is seriously incorrect Especially concerning its use in New Zealand I do notice that you have received your information from the Animal Health Board - which recently had to change its name to Ospri - to stop inquiries into its dealings with Tax payer monies The correct information on the 1080 toxin is best found at www1080science co nz Yours sincerely, Diana