Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): Agriculture-Related Enforcement Cases 2003
The following are agriculture-related enforcement cases pertaining to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act. This information is provided for reference. Over time, links to news items may become unavailable. In these cases the item will remain listed, but no link will be provided. Also, please be aware that the information in any particular article may be outdated or superseded by additional information.
EPA Enforcement Cases 2003
- November 21, 2003: EPA Penalizes Quail Plantations for Misuse of Pesticides
- October 6, 2003: EPA Fines Company for Improperly Distributing Pesticides
- October 2, 2003: EPA Cites Company for Sale and Distribution of Unregistered Pesticide
- October 1, 2003: EPA Cites Companies for Unproven Claims About Their Antimicrobial Pesticide's Effectiveness
- September 30, 2003: EPA Fines Pesticide Device Maker for Filing False Company Information
- September 30, 2003: EPA Fines South San Francisco Company $8,800 for Pesticide Violation
- September 30, 2003: EPA Fines Aerial Applicator $5,500 for Allowing Pesticide to Drift Onto Residential Property
- September 22, 2003: EPA Fines San Francisco Business for Selling Illegal Insecticide Chalk
- September 18, 2003: EPA Fines Southern California Businesses for Failing to Report Pesticide Production
- July 23, 2003: Michigan Pesticide Producer Pleads Guilty to Selling Unregistered Pesticide
- June 5, 2003: EPA Cites Five Colorado Growers for Failing to Comply with the Agricultural Worker Protection Regulation
November 21, 2003EPA Penalizes Quail Plantations for Misuse of Pesticides
EPA announced the settlement of cases involving the misuse of pesticides at eight plantations used for hunting quail in southern Georgia. A multi-agency investigation discovered the illegal practice of injecting chicken eggs with the pesticide Furadan in order to poison the predators of quail and quail eggs. Under the terms of the settlements, the plantations certified that any use of Furadan for predator control on their properties had ceased, and they will pay a combined civil penalty of $359,750. "These cases served to stop a practice that presented a public health risk," said J.P. Suarez, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We hope they will serve to deter other operations from misusing pesticides. This is part of a national effort to promote the responsible use of such substances."
The violations were initially detected in 1998 and 1999 by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR) and investigated by EPA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, GDNR, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA). The State and the U.S. Attorney’s Office previously assessed fines and penalties against some of the plantations. The settlement resolves cases filed under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. “The combined federal and state enforcement efforts have stemmed the illegal use of pesticides that kill wildlife and pose a serious health risk to anyone coming in contact with them,” said Jimmy Palmer, EPA Regional Administrator in Atlanta. Lonice Barrett, Commissioner of GDNR stated, “This practice has stopped, and if employed in the future, GDNR will transmit such reports to the appropriate state and federal officials and cooperate to the fullest extent possible to assist in the prosecution of those involved.” The eight plantations involved in the settlements are: Kolomoki L.L.C. and John Ray Stout; Albermarle Plantation and Richard Roger Thomas; Nochaway Plantation and John L. Simms; Pinebloom Plantation; Ecila Plantation and Wiley Jordan; J.W. Willis Property; Pineland Plantation; and Nonami Plantation.
October 6, 2003EPA Fines Company for Improperly Distributing Pesticides
EPA fined Lesco, Inc. of Strongville, Ohio $40,040 for allegedly distributing pesticides with missing or torn labels, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Lesco allegedly distributed a combination of fertilizers and pesticides, which are used commercially and residentially for weed control and lawn feeding. The violations were discovered during an inspection in Oregon after shipment from Stockton, California. "All pesticide products are required to bear a label containing information on how to use pesticides safely and effectively," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of EPA's Cross Media Division. "Under FIFRA, companies who sell or distribute these products have a responsibility to make sure that labels are attached and intact." Pesticides that have been registered with the EPA will have an agency registration number displayed on the label. Pesticide labels provide consumers with information necessary to use pesticides safely.
October 2, 2003EPA Cites Company for Sale and Distribution of Unregistered Pesticide
EPA announced that it has issued a $4,400 penalty to a Vernon, Calif. company for selling an unregistered pesticide. International Distributors will pay the fine to settle a single violation of the federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The company allegedly sold a pesticide known as Clorox Lavanda Bleach that was not registered with the EPA to Pamex Foods in Beltsville, Md. "Companies must register their pesticides with EPA," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the Cross Media Division of EPA's Pacific Southwest regional office. "Without EPA registration, we have no information on the effects of this product, which could result in harm to public health and the environment."
In part, FIFRA states that "no person in any State may distribute or sell to any person any pesticide that is not registered under this Act." EPA will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to its directions. EPA also makes sure that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the pesticide safely, and pesticides that have been registered with EPA will have an EPA registration number on the label.
October 1, 2003EPA Cites Companies for Unproven Claims About Their Antimicrobial Pesticide's Effectiveness
EPA settled for $31,680 with Envirosystems, Inc., a San Jose-based company, for allegedly making unproven claims about the effectiveness of its surface disinfectant, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. EPA cited the company's Santa Clara facility for selling Eco Tru, an antimicrobial product designed to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, with labeling that allegedly claimed its effectiveness against Hepatitis C. While the product was registered with EPA in 2001, its Hepatitis C claim had not been approved by EPA. In addition, Envirosystems allegedly sold an antibacterial wipe without obtaining EPA registration, a separate violation of federal pesticide law.
Under federal law, EPA cited another company that produces the disinfectant product under a different name. EPA settled with the sub-registrant, Andpak Inc. of Morgan Hill, for $4,400 for allegedly making similar unproven claims about the product's effectiveness. "Companies need to ensure that their products are labeled properly," says Enrique Manzanilla, director of EPA's Cross Media Division. "Faulty labeling not only misleads the consumer, but could result in harm to human health." These cases are based on inspections conducted by EPA's Pacific Southwest Office and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
September 30, 2003EPA Fines Pesticide Device Maker for Filing False Company Information
EPA fined Actron Inc. $7,920 for knowingly providing false company information to the EPA and producing "sticky pest traps" in an unregistered location, both violations of the federal pesticide law. The company claimed they were producing the device at a Tarzana, Calif. site, however state inspectors discovered that the address provided to the EPA was a personal mailbox. The initial violation was forwarded to the EPA for further investigation. The company later admitted that the actual production site was in Reseda, Calif. That site was unregistered.
"It's a serious violation when facilities fail to provide accurate information," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "It is important that we have correct information from producers of pesticides and devices to ensure that the public is protected." Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, pesticide device-producing companies are required to submit to the EPA information on establishment location and types and amounts of pesticides and devices produced and distributed. Sticky traps are used for trapping pests such as roaches, mice, and rats.
September 30, 2003EPA Fines South San Francisco Company $8,800 for Pesticide Violation
EPA recently reached a settlement with a South San Francisco coatings manufacturer that requires the company to pay $8,800 for selling an unregistered pesticide, a violation of the federal pesticide law. EPA cited Simpson Coatings Group, Inc. for selling its Special Deck Compound as an antifouling pesticide without EPA registration. Properly registered products have labels that accurately identify their ingredients, as well as their human and environmental risk, and information on their correct use. "Companies must register their pesticides with the EPA," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Cross Media Division. "Without EPA registration, we have no information on the effects of this product, which could lead to harm to public health and the environment."
September 30, 2003EPA Fines Aerial Applicator $5,500 for Allowing Pesticide to Drift onto Residential Property
EPA fined an aerial pesticide applicator $5,500 after he applied two pesticides directly to or allowed them to drift onto residential properties in Queen Creek, Ariz. During an aerial application to control insect pests on cotton, Crop First Aviation Inc. president and pilot directly sprayed or allowed Danitol 2.4 EC and Orthene 90 WSP to drift onto nearby residences adjacent to the field. Adults and children were at home during the pesticide application. "Pesticide applicators have a responsibility to apply products in a manner that will not harm public health or the environment," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Federal law requires pesticide applicators to apply registered products according to the label instructions and the EPA will continue to prosecute those who do not use them properly."
The label directions for these pesticides forbid application when persons other than protected handlers are in the area during application, or when application is conducted in a way that will contact persons either directly or through drift. The directions also forbid application in or around residential areas, or under conditions where pesticides may drift onto food, forage, or other plantings that might be damaged or rendered unfit for sale, use or consumption. The Arizona Department of Agriculture began investigating after a resident complained. Due to the company's poor compliance history, the agency referred the case to the EPA. The company had received prior warnings and citations for similar violations.
September 22, 2003EPA Fines San Francisco Business for Selling Illegal Insecticide Chalk
EPA fined a San Francisco business $3,168 for selling an unregistered insecticide, a violation of the federal pesticide law. EPA penalized the Kwong Sang Lung Company for selling the unregistered Miraculous Insecticide Chalk to a Honolulu business. Insecticidal chalk poses a particular risk to children because it is indistinguishable from common blackboard chalk, and lacks child-proof packaging. "Businesses and consumers alike should be aware that these illegal products can put children at risk," said Enrique Manzanilla, the director for the EPA's Cross Media Division for its Pacific Southwest office. "EPA considers the sale of these illegal products serious violations and will take necessary enforcement actions."
Insecticidal chalk often contains deltamethrin, which, can cause eye and mouth irritation. Between 1999 and 2001, Poison Control Centers nationwide received approximately 100 reports annually involving insecticide chalk, although a majority of these were associated with minor or no symptoms. Inspectors with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture discovered the violation during an inspection in September 2001 at a marketplace in Honolulu. The inspection was in response to a tip the state received. An invoice identified the Kwong Sang Lung company as a wholesaler/importer. Properly registered products have labels that list their ingredients, and their human, environmental, physical and chemical hazards, and information on their use, storage and disposal. Comparisons with similar registered products show that many of these illegal products lack key information on their labels. Consumers should look for an EPA registration number on the label.
September 18, 2003EPA Fines Southern California Businesses for Failing to Report Pesticide Production
EPA announced a settlement with four southern California businesses requiring the companies to pay fines totaling $18,700 for failing to submit their 2002 pesticide production reports on time, a violation of the federal pesticide law. Mission Laboratories of Los Angeles, Pentair Aquatics of El Monte, and U.S. Lubricants of Montclair were each fined $4,400. Due to its repeated violations, Aquatronics of Oxnard was fined $5,500. "Failing to report the production of pesticides in a timely manner, although seemingly harmless, is a serious violation," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "These reporting requirements are instrumental in maximizing EPA's capacity to target inspections and to ensure safe management and distribution of these pesticides." Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, companies must annually report pesticide production to the EPA by March 1. Production records provide information on on the quantities of pesticides produced and distributed.
July 23, 2003Michigan Pesticide Producer Pleads Guilty to Selling Unregistered Pesticide
On July 7 in U.S. District Court in Michigan, a pesticide producer pled guilty to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by knowingly violating a U.S. EPA Stop Sale and Use Order (SSUO). He does business as New Tech and HAPCO Products Inc. in Fraser, Mich. The defendant sold automotive supplies as well as a perchloroethylene-containing product called "Kritter Killer" which the defendant advertised as a rodenticide for killing prairie dogs. Perchloroethylene is a suspected carcinogen. On Nov. 9, 2000, EPA issued an SSUO to the defendant requiring him to stop selling Kritter Killer. However, about June 2002, the defendant sold five gallons of Kritter Killer to a man in Wolf Point, Mont. The plea agreement calls for the defendant to spend up to nine months in jail and place advertisements in trade journals notifying customers that he violated the SSUO and stating that he will no longer sell perchloroethylene. He must also send the same information to all customers who bought perchloroethylene from him since April 2000. The case was investigated by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division, FBI, USDA-Office of Inspector General and the case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit.