Boston, Mass. -- Over the past several months, EPA has taken a series of enforcement actions against several New England firms for alleged violations of the federal law that governs pesticides in the U.S. (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or “FIFRA”).
The larger cases included a business that sells temperature sensing instruments for medical use, a maker of devices used to control bedbugs, a pool chemical distributor and a company that markets an assortment of solutions for decks, roofs, and shingles. These cases alleged a number of different FIFRA violations, including the failure to register pesticides; misbranded pesticides or devices (through false or misleading labeling); failure to report pesticide or device imports into the United States; selling pesticides for an unauthorized use; and failure to register pesticide/device-producing establishments.
In all of the case settlements announced by EPA, the parties targeted for enforcement do not admit to any liability for the violations that are alleged by EPA. Descriptions of the enforcement actions include the following:
BioSensory, Inc. of Putnam, Conn.
In March 2013, EPA settled claims against BioSensory for alleged FIFRA violations for failing to report annual production and sales data, failing to submit notices of FIFRA-regulated imports, distributing or selling misbranded pesticides or devices, and distributing/selling pesticides for unauthorized uses. Under the settlement, BioSensory agreed to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 and to certify that they are now complying with FIFRA. This action followed a prior “Stop Sale Order” issued to address the immediate concerns. BioSensory is in the business of importing, distributing, and selling pesticides and pesticide devices that mitigate and manage insects, including bedbugs.
Wash Safe Industries of Brewster, Mass.
In Feb. 2013, EPA settled claims against Wash Safe for alleged FIFRA violations involving the sale and distribution of pesticide cleaning products without having registered those products, and the production of pesticide products in an establishment that had not been registered under FIFRA. This action followed an earlier Stop Sale Order issued to ensure compliance with FIFRA by immediately halting the sale of unregistered pesticide products. Wash Safe has agreed to pay $10,000 under the settlement, based on its ability to pay.
Exergen Corp. of Watertown, Mass.
In Jan. 2013, EPA settled claims against Exergen for alleged FIFRA violations involving the distribution or sale of unregistered pesticide products. Under the settlement, Exergen agreed to pay a civil penalty of $185,000 and operate in full compliance with FIFRA and its underlying regulations. The settlement also resolved a prior Stop Sale Order concerning the same issues. The products in question included three models of a medical device, specifically, a temporal scanning thermometer, that were treated with silver ion antimicrobials and marketed with certain public health claims that subjected them to the stringent pesticide registration provisions of FIFRA Section 3. Normally, such “treated articles” are exempt from FIFRA regulation if certain conditions are met including, among other things, the avoidance of public health claims.
Accu-Care Supply, Inc. of East Providence, R.I.
In Dec. 2012, EPA settled claims against Accu-Care Supply, a pool chemical supply company, for alleged violations involving the production of nine separate sodium hypochlorite-based pesticide products in its East Providence establishment without first registering that facility as a pesticide-producing establishment under FIFRA. Under the settlement, Accu-Care agreed to pay a civil penalty of $30,000, properly register the establishment under FIFRA, and to maintain compliance with all other FIFRA requirements.
EPA is also announcing a series of smaller cases taken against companies based in New England that produce pesticides or pesticide devices. These companies agreed to pay a total of more than $21,000, or cancelled their registration as a pesticide-producing establishment, to settle claims by EPA that they failed to properly submit annual production reports to the agency on or before March 1, as required by FIFRA. These reports are the only means that EPA has for obtaining information on the types and amounts of pesticides being produced, sold or distributed both domestically and for export. EPA uses the information to trace ineffective, contaminated or recalled pesticide products, among other purposes. In each of these cases, the company had received a previous Notice of Warning for the same or similar reporting deficiencies.
The companies and what they paid to settle include:
- Triosyn Corp. of Williston, Vt. paid $11,205;
- Boyd Technologies, Inc. of South Lee, Mass. (501 Pleasant Street location) paid $4,455;
- Bio Defense Corporation of Boston, Mass. paid $3,315; and
- Gotham Technologies, Inc. of Norwalk, Conn. paid $2,970.
For failing to meet annual reporting requirements, but in lieu of a penalty, the following companies agreed to cancel their pesticide-producing establishment registrations and to neither produce pesticides nor re-register their establishments for at least five years:
- North Safety Products, LLC of Cranston, R.I.;
- Phoenix Divina Products, LLC of Terryville, Conn.;
- Boyd Technologies, Inc. of South Lee, Mass. (480 Pleasant Street location);
- Duziem Laboratories, Inc. of Lowell, Mass.;
- Rachel Systems, Inc. of New Haven, Conn.; and
- Scot W. Pollack d/b/a CLEANSOURCE of Londonderry, N.H.
FIFRA is the federal law that regulates all pesticide distribution, sale and use in the United States. All pesticides used in the U.S. undergo a rigorous, science-based evaluation by EPA to ensure their use does not pose unacceptable risks to human health or to the environment. This review is the basis of a pesticide product’s registration by EPA. Registration assures that pesticides will be properly labeled and that, if used in accordance with specifications, they will not cause unreasonable harm to the environment. Use of each registered pesticide must be consistent with use directions contained on the label or labeling. Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, antimicrobials and other substances and pest control devices used to control insects, weeds or microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.
- Enforcing pesticide requirements in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcement/pesticides/index.html)
- General information on EPA regulation of pesticides (http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/index.htm)