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U.S. EPA fines Kama’aina Termite and Pest Control $17,000 for misuse of pesticide products

Release Date: 08/09/2011
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(08/09/11) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a $17,000 fine against Kama’aina Termite & Pest Control, Inc. for misusing Vikane, a fumigant pesticide, at three houses and one luxury condominium, a violation of federal law.

The company uses the EPA registered fumigant Vikane to treat structures for termite infestation and allegedly failed to follow required label instructions and safety precautions before and during fumigation at all four locations. Vikane is a brand name for the chemical sulfuryl fluoride, a colorless, odorless gas that can decompose under high heat conditions into hydrofluoric acid, a highly reactive and corrosive chemical that can damage the surrounding environment. In addition, Vikane represents a highly hazardous poison to humans that is fatal if inhaled and potentially fatal if swallowed.

Specifically, Kama’aina Termite failed to turn off the gas stove/water heater pilot lights in one home, and required warning signs were not posted at two other homes. Prior to treating the 44-story Keola La’i Condominium in Honolulu, the largest fumigation project ever attempted in the State of Hawaii, the company failed to remove non-airtight-sealed food from at least 28 residential units and failed to open internal doors in at least 342 units. The violations were discovered through inspections conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticides Branch in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Today’s action settles the complaint filed by EPA on February 28, 2011.

“Today’s action emphasizes how critical it is for companies to follow label directions as fumigants such as Vikane are potentially dangerous when misused or misapplied,” said Dean Higuchi, Hawaii Press Officer for the EPA’s Southwest Regional Office. “Our goal is to ensure families are protected when their homes are being treated with these registered termite control products.”

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides. Before selling or distributing any pesticide, companies are required to register the pesticide with the 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.

For more information please visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/labels/product-labels.htm and http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/index.htm

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