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EPA Reaches Settlement with Nation’s Largest Manufacturer of Hospital Disinfectants; Company Agrees to Pay $550,000 in Penalties

Release Date: 07/31/2009
Contact Information: Sophia Kelley (212) 637-3670, kelley.jessicasophia@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently settled a third pesticide enforcement case against Lonza Inc., the nation’s largest manufacturer of hospital disinfectants, for multiple violations of the federal law that regulates pesticides. Most recently, the New Jersey-based company agreed to pay more than $550,000 in fines for allegedly making misleading claims regarding the efficacy of two products. The settlement is one of the largest civil penalties assessed under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Combined with earlier settlements, the penalties total over $640,000. Under a previous settlement, the company also developed a ground-breaking supplemental environmental project, valued at $390,000.

“It may surprise people to know that part of EPA’s job is to make sure disinfectants are as effective as they claim, and we take this job very seriously,” George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator said. “Products that make claims that are not met put people at risk of getting sick. We are pleased that Lonza has agreed to not only pay penalties but to take steps that will go a long way toward rectifying the problem.”

Before any pesticide is sold in the U.S., it must go through EPA's vigorous registration process. During this process, companies must provide health studies and environmental information about the product to ensure that its proper use does not cause any negative human or environmental effects. It is incumbent upon the manufacturer to ensure that a product functions as stated on the label. If EPA decides to register the product, it grants the manufacturer an EPA registration number, which is listed on the product. EPA also works closely with the manufacturer on the label language to make sure that it is clear and as specific as possible about how the product may be used.

Products cited for inefficacy in the most recent case were: Saniphor No. 450, registered as a tuberculocide, but found ineffective against a bacterium that causes tuberculosis; and 7 Healthcare Disinfectant Neutral Cleaner, which EPA tests determined did not kill the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as claimed on the label. In addition, Klear Guard Tub & Tile Foaming Germicidal Cleaner was cited as misbranded for use of a label with missing first aid information.

In addition to monetary fines, EPA’s earlier settlement with Lonza Inc. required it to implement the innovative supplemental environmental project. Lonza has already begun its project to institute rigorous quality assurance and product efficacy testing at more than 470 formulators of Lonza products nationwide. This will help ensure that the products sold are effective and provide public health protection.

For more information about pesticides and how to use and dispose of them, call the National Pesticide Information Center 1800-858-PEST or visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/pesticides.

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