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EPA Takes Action to Stop Sales of Illegal Pesticides

Release Date: 04/24/2012
Contact Information: John Martin (212) 637- 3662, martin.johnj@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued legal complaints against two Brooklyn stores for violating federal pesticides law by selling and distributing illegal pesticides. Products used to kill pests must be registered with EPA to ensure that they will not make people sick and contain labels with instructions on their proper use. In September 2011, EPA inspections of two Brooklyn establishments, Man Li Trading, Inc. at 5821 8th Avenue and Hong Kong Supermarket at 6023 8th Avenue, revealed that they were selling various pesticide products that had not been registered with the EPA. Among the unregistered products found were mosquito repellants, various types of mothballs and a toilet bowl cleaner.

"The sale of illegal pesticides puts the health and safety of our communities at risk,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Store owners have a responsibility to make sure the pesticide products they sell have the required EPA labels. I encourage all retailers to check their shelves to make sure they are not endangering the health of their customers by selling illegal pesticides.”

Pesticides have been linked to various forms of illnesses in humans, ranging from skin and eye irritation to cancer. Some pesticides may also affect the hormone or endocrine systems. In many situations, there are non-chemical methods that will effectively control pests. The EPA recommends considering and using alternative methods as part of an overall pest management strategy.

The inspections that led to the two legal actions targeted stores in neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. During these inspections, 350 illegal pesticide products were confiscated. Earlier this year, orders to stop the sale of the illegal pesticides discovered during the inspections were issued to both Man Li Trading and Hong Kong Supermarket.

Under federal pesticides law, all products sold in the U.S. that contain pesticides must be registered with the EPA. 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.

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