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U.S. EPA files complaint against Kama’aina Termite and Pest Control for misuse of pesticide products

Release Date: 02/28/2011
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

(02/28/11) HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the filing of an administrative complaint against Kama’aina Termite and Pest Control for misapplying and misusing Vikane, a fumigant pesticide at three different homes and one condominium, a violation of federal law.

The company uses the EPA registered fumigant Vikane to treat structures and allegedly failed to follow required label instructions and safety precautions before using the fumigant at all four locations. This potentially exposed residents to unnecessary risk and reduced the treatment’s effectiveness. Vikane is a brand name for the chemical sulfuryl fluoride, a colorless, odorless gas used as an insecticide.

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. While treating the 44-story Keola La’i Condominium in Honolulu, the company did not remove food from several of the units and failed to open internal doors in the units before treatment. The violations were discovered through inspections conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticides Branch in 2007, 2008 and 2010.

“We want to protect the health of families whose homes are being treated with toxic termite control products,” said Dean Higuchi, Hawaii Press Officer for the EPA’s Southwest Regional Office. “Fumigants such as Vikane are potentially dangerous when misapplied, and by law companies must follow the label directions with care.”

Fines could be as high as $20,100 for five violations at the four locations.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, 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.

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