Texas Company Fined $128,300 for Violating Pesticide Law

A Texas pesticide producing company has agreed to settle a complaint brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating a federal pesticides law designed to provide proper registration, distribution, and sale of pesticides, EPA announced recently.

J. Wade Bowman, president and chief executive officer of Voluntary Purchasing Groups Inc. (VPG) of Bonham, Texas, agreed to the settlement agreement after the company was found in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, also known as FIFRA. According to the complaint, VPG distributed and sold a registered pesticide that had a composition different from its registration, and distributed and sold unregistered and/or misbranded pesticides including Hi-Yield 5% Malathion Dust, Ferti-Lome Come and Get It! Fire Ant Killer, Hi-Yield Dusting Wettable Sulphur, Ferti-Lome Dormant Spray and Summer Oil Spray, Natural Guard Lawn, Plant & Pet Insect Spray, and Hi-Yield Kill-A-Bug II.

“Assuring the safety of chemicals in our products, our environment and our bodies is one of our highest priorities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “Consumers need proper information to ensure they are using pesticides safely and correctly. Improper labeling can result in harm to public health and the environment.”

EPA inspectors, joined by staff from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) conducted an inspection at VPG’s Bonham facility on July 27, 2008. The inspection was conducted as a result of several referrals from other EPA regions regarding VPG pesticide products being distributed and sold in violation of FIFRA. EPA and TDA inspectors collected copies of documents from VPG and verified the alleged violations.

Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies are required to register the pesticide with EPA. As part of the registration process, pesticides are labeled with both a registration number and an establishment number used for product tracking purposes. Also required on the label is information concerning the producer and name, and brand or trademark under which the pesticide is sold, as well as directions for use and other information to provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely.

Additional information on FIFRA is available at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra/fifraenfstatreq.html#statute.

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