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NEW YORK (AP) — New York City is using dry ice to reduce its rat population.

The Daily News says the program is in effect citywide after a successful 2016 pilot and the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of frozen carbon dioxide to kill rats.

The health department’s pest control director, Ricky Simeone, says dry ice is effective on rats but doesn’t harm birds of prey.

On Monday, exterminators buried smoking dry ice in burrows in a park flower bed. The rats are trapped inside, suffocate and die within minutes. Some rats may escape, so an area is typically treated three times.

Staff from the housing authority and the parks, sanitation and education departments also have received dry-ice training. All of those agencies are involved in the city’s neighborhood rat reduction plan.

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Information from: Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com