EPA Orders Scotts to Stop Selling Certain Pesticides, Fertilizers

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 yesterday issued a "stop sale, use or removal" order against Scotts Miracle Gro Co. and three affiliates, all of Marysville, Ohio, for illegal, unregistered, and misbranded pesticides. EPA said it also will issue a stop sale order to Scotts Lawn Care Service.

The agency ordered the companies, collectively an international producer and distributor of lawn care products, to immediately stop selling and distributing two products which can be identified by the invalid "EPA registration number" listed on the package. Invalid registration number 62355-4 is marketed under names including "Garden Weed Preventer + Plant Food" and "Miracle Gro Shake 'n' Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer." Invalid registration number 538-304 is used primarily by Scotts Lawn Service, a lawn care company. It is marketed under names including "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer with .28% Halts," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 0-0-7 Plus .28% Halts Pro," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 14-2-5 Plus .28% Halts Pro" and "Scotts Lawn Service Fertlizer 22-0-8 Plus .28% Halts Pro." In an effort to make sure these products are immediately removed from the marketplace, EPA also will issue stop sale orders to major retailers that carry these products.

Scotts has agreed to recall these products from all retail locations across the United States and to set up a process for consumers to safely return any unregistered products they may have purchased. An EPA consumer hotline to answer questions about the action has been established at 888-838-1304 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m, CDT). Questions may also be answered by the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378 (6:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., PDT, including weekends). A fact sheet and regularly updated information are posted online at www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/news/.

At this time the risks, if any, posed by these unregistered products are unknown. EPA and its state partner Ohio Department of Agriculture are conducting a laboratory analysis of these products. Updated information will be posted online when it becomes available. Until EPA has more information about the contents of these products, consumers are advised not to use these products and to store them in a safe, cool and dry place such as a garage or utility shed. Do not dispose of them down the drain, in the garbage or at a community disposal site.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, all pesticides must be submitted to EPA for review, evaluation and registration to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. EPA's review and registration process is internationally recognized. Pesticide products that have not undergone EPA review may pose risks to human health and the environment.

"A manufacturer such as Scotts cannot ignore the important legal requirement of registering its pesticides," said Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "This is a serious violation of EPA's system for protecting people and the environment from the potential harmful effects of pesticides. EPA will fully investigate this violation and take appropriate actions. We are committed to keeping the public informed about any health consequences and providing information to assure the safe recall of these products as soon as possible."

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