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U.S. EPA settles for $20,800 with Petaluma company for pesticide violations

Release Date: 04/06/2007
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

(04/05/07 - SAN FRANCISCO) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has settled with Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc. of Petaluma, Calif., for $20,800 for allegedly distributing an antimicrobial disinfectant that failed effectiveness testing, in violation of federal pesticide laws.


    The EPA cited Oculus for allegedly distributing Cidalcyn. The product claims to be a hospital-grade disinfectant that will eliminate potentially harmful bacteria. Sampling results show the product is not effective against certain bacteria.

    “In order for a company to sell a hospital-grade disinfectant, the product needs to eliminate harmful bacteria, and Cidalcyn simply does not,” said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “If the EPA finds that a product fails testing for product effectiveness, the company can expect significant penalties.”

    In September 2005, EPA inspectors conducted an inspection at the Oculus facility and collected samples of Cidalcyn for testing. The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs microbiology lab then tested the effectiveness of Cidalcyn and determined that contrary to the label’s claim, it was ineffective against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylcoccus aureus. Due to this testing failure, the pesticide does not meet its claim of being a broad-spectrum disinfectant suitable for hospital use. Once notified of this failure, Oculus stopped distributing the product and is working with the EPA to modify its registration.

    Disinfectants are considered “pesticides” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the production, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, a company must register it with the EPA. As part of the registration process, the company must ensure that the pesticide meets the claims made on its label.

    For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please visit the EPA’s Web site at: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra/