EPA investigates Terminix for fumigation techniques on Kauai

LIHUE — Alleged pesticide violations at Kauai branches of Terminix have caught the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The pest control company is one of four in Hawaii under investigation for the alleged misuse of pesticides.

A January Kauai incident at Syngenta when 10 workers were hospitalized after enter a field too soon after spraying the pesticide chlorpyrifos is also under EPA investigation. In addition, EPA is investigating pesticide violation allegations at Monsanto, and Wonder Farms on Oahu.

Because all four of the pesticide-related cases are ongoing, Dean Higuchi, press officer for the EPA Hawaii Office, said no other details are available for the investigations.

A spokesperson for the company said Terminix was aware of the situation and they are working with the Department of Agriculture, but declined further comment.

A complaint from an unnamed Kauai Terminix employee of improper fumigation procedures is what drew the Department of Agriculture’s attention to the issue, and the some details about agency’s response to the complaint are in the April-June 2016 DOA quarterly report.

“This is an ongoing investigation and Terminix has retained lawyers, and all requests for information has to go through their legal council,” the DOA quarterly report says.

That compliant alleges all fumigations being done by Terminix branches on Kauai did not have proper equipment for the procedures, scales weren’t used to weigh the fumigants, the self-contained breathing apparatus weren’t filled with air, and structures weren’t cleared with a clearing devise before they were reoccupied.

HDOA turned the case over to EPA for investigation, and representatives can’t comment on details because EPA is looking into the allegations.

“Certainly on certain statutes the federal jurisdiction supersedes ours and we hand it off to them, but when we, the state, have a concern we (also) ask EPA to look into it,” said Scott Enright, chairman of HDOA’s board. “This one was something that’s disconcerting and this one we’ll hand off to the EPA.”

No timeline has been established for the investigations, Higuchi said.


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