LIHUE — There aren’t any lingering public health dangers on Kauai due to Terminix’s reported misuse of restricted-use fumigant pesticides, but the company has been fined.
Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a $168,535 fine against Terminix International Co. for misusing three different RUP fumigant pesticides at four different locations on Kauai.
Record keeping, pesticide handling, failure to provide proper protection equipment, and failures in monitoring are all listed as alleged violations in the court order.
“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.”
Representatives from Terminix International did not return requests for comment.
The company is a commercial pesticide applicator and uses the EPA-registered fumigants Vikane, Profume, and Degesch Fumi-Cel. According to the EPA, Terminix failed to follow required label instructions and safety precautions before and during fumigation operations.
Fumigations at Pioneer Parent Seed on Kauai are the first of the violations alleged in the court order, which occurred in October 2014. Terminix failed to keep and maintain records for at least two years that contain information about the kinds, amounts, uses, dates and places of applications of the pesticide Degesch Fumi-cel.
The court order also claims the company used Degesch Fumi-cel in a manner inconsistent with label instructions.
Terminix is also charged with failure to complete records of application of the pesticide Profume at Syngenta Seeds in August 2015. During that incident, the pesticide was applied in a manner inconsistent with its labeling by a person who was not a certified applicator, EPA said.
The court order also alleges the person doing the applying wasn’t wearing a mandated breathing apparatus and didn’t use a detection device to monitor the pesticide’s concentration levels and determine clearance for re-entry.
Record keeping was also an issue for Terminix at Kapaa Shores in 2015, according to the court order, where company employees failed to keep a two-year record of pesticide application.
The pesticide Vikane was applied by a person who wasn’t certified or wearing the proper ventilation equipment, and the pesticide wasn’t weighed before application.
The court order also alleges Terminix didn’t secure the structure against unauthorized entry.
The same failure to keep records about pesticide application is alleged at a Kekaha residence in March 2016, and the pesticide Vikane was allegedly applied in a manner not permitted by the labeling.
Transporting pesticide cylinders in an unsafe manner was also alleged in the court order.
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.
The court order sets a deadline for payment of the $168,535 fine for April 14.
Jessica Else, environment staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org