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EPA orders Scotts to stop sales of two more pesticides with false or misleading labels

Release Date: 04/25/2008
Contact Information: Kären Thompson, 312-353-8547, thompson.karen@epa.gov Anne Rowan, 312-353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 08-OPA078

(Chicago, Ill. - April 25, 2008) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 today issued "stop sale, use or removal" orders to Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. and two affiliates, barring the distribution and sale of two more misbranded pesticides. Labels on both products make false or misleading claims and one product lacks safety instructions as required by EPA.

Products affected by these orders are "Scotts Bonus S Max Southern Weed & Feed And Fire Ant Killer," "Scotts Turf Builder Max Plus 2 Weed & Feed And Crabgrass Preventer" and related pesticide products which can be identified by EPA registration numbers 538-301 and 538-299 listed on their packages. Both products are currently registered with EPA. Earlier this week, EPA requested and Scotts agreed to carry out a recall of these additional products.

A pesticide is misbranded if its label makes false or misleading claims, or does not provide required warning or caution statements that protect public health and the environment. For example, first aid instructions such as "Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice" may be necessary.

"Scotts' actions indicate a pattern of disregard for the country's pesticide laws," said Region 5 Administrator Mary A. Gade. "Proper registration, branding and labeling along with accurate product claims and mandatory safety instructions are crucial so that consumers can have confidence in the pesticide products they use at home. EPA is taking every step necessary to make sure these products are also quickly removed from the marketplace so that further public exposure can be eliminated."

Due to the false and misleading labels, consumers are advised not to use these two products and to store them in a safe, cool and dry place such as a garage or utility shed. Do not dispose of them down the drain, in the garbage or at a community disposal site.

Earlier this week, EPA issued stop sale, use or removal orders against Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., Scotts Lawn Service, three more Scotts Miracle-Gro affiliates and the nine major retailers Home Depot, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, Ace, Do-It-Best, True Value, Sam's Club, Meijer and K-Mart, related to two other Scotts Miracle-Gro pesticides with invalid EPA registration numbers. (Read the press release about these orders.)

Those other two products have the invalid EPA registration numbers 62355-4 and 538-304. Invalid registration number 62355-4 is marketed under names including "Garden Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food" and "Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer." Invalid registration number 538-304 is used primarily by Scotts Lawn Service, a lawn care company. It is marketed under names including "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer with .28% Halts," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 0-0-7 Plus .28% Halts Pro," "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 14-2-5 Plus .28% Halts Pro" and "Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 22-0-8 Plus .28% Halts Pro."

EPA and its state partner Ohio Department of Agriculture are conducting a laboratory analysis of the unregistered 62355-4 and 538-304 products. Updated information will be posted online when it becomes available.

Updated information about Scott's recall effort will be posted online as it becomes available at http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/news/.

An EPA consumer hot-line to answer questions about the Scotts recall effort has been established at 888-838-1304 (9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Central Daylight Time). (this information updated May 5, 2008)

If you have questions, please contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 800-858-7378 (6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time, including weekends).

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, all pesticides must be submitted to EPA for review, evaluation and registration to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. EPA's review and registration process is internationally recognized. Pesticide products that have not undergone EPA review may pose unwanted risks to human health and the environment.

For more information on pesticides, go to http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/pest.

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