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U.S. EPA fines Terminix $168,000 for misuse of pesticide products on Kauai

LIHUE — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $168,535 fine against Terminix International Co. for misusing three different restricted-use fumigant pesticides, at four separate locations on Kauai.

The company is a commercial pesticide applicator and uses the EPA-registered fumigants Vikane, Profume, and Degesch Fumi-Cel. Terminix failed to follow required label instructions and safety precautions before and during fumigation operations, according to an EPA press release.

“Access to restricted-use pesticides comes with the responsibility to use particular care in protecting public health,” said Alexis Strauss, acting Regional Administrator for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Today’s action emphasizes how critical it is for pesticide applicators to follow directions concerning these potentially dangerous fumigants.”

At a seed fumigation site on the island of Kauai, Terminix failed to ensure that only certified workers or workers directly supervised by a certified worker apply a restricted-use pesticide, failed to provide proper worker protection equipment, failed to properly monitor the pesticide’s application or measure the amount of pesticide used, and failed to maintain at least two years of routine operational records tracking applications of the restricted-use pesticide Degesch Fumi-Cel,” the release said.

Terminix had similar violations when using the restricted-use pesticide Profume at another seed fumigation site, as well as the restricted-use pesticide Vikane at residences in Kapaa Shores and Kekaha, all located on Kauai, the release said.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides. Restricted-use pesticides are not available to the general public because of high toxicity and potential to cause injury and to adversely affect the environment. Restricted-use pesticides also require applicators to either be certified to apply the pesticides or be supervised by a certified applicator.

Before selling or distributing any pesticide, companies are required to register the pesticide with EPA and ensure that the registered pesticide is properly labeled. The label of all EPA-registered products must bear the EPA registration number, along with directions for use and safety precautions that need to be followed to avoid misapplication and misuse of the pesticide.

  1. Joan Conrow March 19, 2018 1:12 pm Reply

    So where’s the outrage, froth and fury from Hooser, Surfrider, Earthjustice, etc? It’s so obvious they are gunning only for agriculture while giving all other pesticide use a free pass.

  2. Ellen C. March 20, 2018 2:41 am Reply

    Sulfuryl fluoride is a highly neurotoxic substance that has the potential to damage the brain. It should be banned. This fine is a pittance if workers were allowed to work unprotected and if they have suffered cognitive decline. The Fluoride Action Network tried hard to get it banned. We nearly won but Dow, the original owner of the sulfuryl fluroide fumigants, managed to get the votes in a Congressional 2013 Farm Bill to undo the phase-out that EPA had proposed.

  3. Bluedream March 20, 2018 8:58 am Reply

    End result? Terminex no longer can do business on Kauai. Now there is only one company that does fumigation. Of course they have already spiked their prices. Curious to know if that local fumigation company still in business here was put under the same scrutiny?

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