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EPA Takes Action Against New Jersey Importer of Illegal Pesticides

Release Date: 04/23/2013
Contact Information: Contact: John Martin, (212) 637-3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a legal complaint against the Caribbean Corp. of Little Ferry, New Jersey for violating federal pesticides law. The company faces fines of up to $51,200 for importing pesticides into the United States from Mexico without first properly notifying the EPA, and for importing, selling and distributing unregistered and misbranded pesticides. Under federal law, products used to kill pests, including antibacterial cleaners and disinfectants, must be registered with the EPA and contain labels written in English with instructions on their proper use.

      "Pesticides can make people sick, particularly if they are not used according to instructions,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Companies that import pesticides into the United States without making sure these products are properly labeled put people’s health and safety at risk. It is imperative that importers and store owners remove unregistered or mislabeled pesticides from their shelves to help protect the health of their customers.”

      EPA inspections of the Caribbean Corp.’s Little Ferry facility in May 2012 revealed the company was selling bottles of “Fabuloso,” a liquid cleaner, and “Clorox,” a liquid bleach, that had not been registered with the EPA. Although many Clorox products are registered with EPA, these particular bottles were not. In addition, the labels on these products were in Spanish, and not in English, as required. The labels on the bottles of Fabuloso stated it was antibacterial and the labels on the Clorox products stated it was a disinfectant, making both products subject to federal pesticide law.

      Before a pesticide product is registered, the producer of the product must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not be harmful to people’s health. The EPA examines the ingredients and the way in which the product will be used, and assesses a wide variety of potential human health and environmental effects associated with its use. Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed and sold fully comply with the law.

      The federal pesticides law additionally requires the filing of a "Notice of Arrival" prior to the arrival of all imported pesticides into the United States. Companies must submit detailed information on the Notice of Arrival form to allow the EPA to determine if the pesticide is approved for use in the United States or meets one of the few allowable exemptions. Products not registered with the EPA for use in the United States are denied entry and destroyed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or sent back to their country of origin under Customs supervision.

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.
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