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EPA Fine Against Pesticide Maker Upped from $50,000 to $132,000 for Selling Unregistered Pool Disinfectant

Release Date: 11/21/2002
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, U.S. EPA, (415) 947-4307

     SAN FRANCISCO   As a result of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appeal, the Environmental Appeals Board recently issued a decision to raise an original $50,000 penalty to $132,000 against Chem Lab Products for selling and distributing an unregistered pool disinfectant in 1998.

     The EAB raised the penalty after determining that the original fine did not match the severity of the violations.  

     The Ontario, Calif.-based Chem Lab Products, a nationwide distributor of pool products, was cited for 24 counts of  the federal pesticide law.  The company sold and distributed the unregistered pool disinfectant, Shock Quick, without proper labeling.  The label was missing significant information on directions for use and the toxicity of the chemical, which can cause skin damage and can be fatal if inhaled.

     "Companies need to ensure that their product meets registration standards when it reaches the consumer and that it's clear on how to use it safely," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Cross Media Division in San Francisco.  "This decision sends a clear message to industry that unregistered products pose a potential risk to human health and the environment."

     The EPA filed a complaint in August 2000 after an inspection by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

     To register a pesticide, including pool disinfectants, companies must submit to the EPA scientific studies on the chemical toxicity and data on the effect to human health and the environment.  In addition, pool disinfectants must also submit tests to show that the product kills microorganisms, including bacteria.

     Companies must also provide the EPA a label for the pesticide, which is reviewed to ensure that directions include use instructions, human health precautions, environmental hazards, disposal requirements, and other essential information needed to use the pesticide in a reasonably safe manner.

     The current pesticide registration framework was developed  in large part to respond to public concern on the affect of pesticides on human health and the environment as raised in Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring."
 
     More information on pesticides and disinfectants is available on the EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/.  Businesses seeking more information on registration of their pesticide or disinfectant can contact Clara Miller with the EPA's Registration Support Branch at (703) 305-6549.

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