Only today, I found this press release from 2014 explaining that New York state rejected the ban on super-toxic rat poisons. This likely explains why the Department of Health is able to use it, but this doesn't make it ok.
From the press release:
“The state’s own reports reveal that majestic red-tailed hawks and snowy owls continue to suffer tortuous deaths from these dangerous poisons, but the Department of Environmental Conservation has turned a blind eye to these needless deaths in favor of pesticide manufacturers,” said Jonathan Evans, toxics and endangered species campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s a range of safer, cost-effective alternatives available today, and no reason at all to leave the worst of the worst poisons on the market.”
Information on alternative non-toxic rat control can be found at the Safe Rodent Control Resource Center.
Raptors Are The Solution (RATS) is also a good resource for education and community outreach.
Rodenticide is a public health issue. Please email Council Member Margaret Chin (firstname.lastname@example.org), who represents the Lower East Side, and demand the city use alternative methods of rat control in our public parks.