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EPA Cites Largest Hospital Disinfectant Manufacturer for False Claims

Release Date: 05/17/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666, cahill.richard@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The largest U.S. manufacturer of hospital disinfectants has been charged with making false claims about the effectiveness of its products against microbial pests, according to a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) complaint against Lonza, Inc. Federal and state investigators collected products made by the New Jersey-based corporation from stores in New Jersey, California, Hawaii and North Carolina and conducted laboratory tests that showed the disinfectants did not work against common infection-causing microorganisms. EPA is seeking a penalty of $202,500 against Lonza, Inc. for these alleged violations of federal pesticide law.

“This company sold disinfectants that didn’t deliver as promised, and did a disservice to doctors, staff, patients and the general public,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “EPA and its partners in the states will keep a close eye on these companies to make sure they pay for violations and discourage would be wrong-doers from making the same mistakes.”

The hospital disinfectant products that the joint federal and state investigation determined to be ineffective are Formula 158 Lemon Disinfectant, Fresh and Clean and REV. Formula 158 Lemon Disinfectant and Fresh and Clean did not kill Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, and REV did not kill either the Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus, as claimed on the labels. Both pathogens can cause infections that can be serious, but are often treatable with antibiotics. As a result of EPA’s action, Lonza revised its claims on the Formula 158 Lemon Disinfectant labels to comply with EPA regulations and discontinued the REV formulations. Lonza, Inc. has requested a meeting with EPA to discuss the alleged violations.

Before any pesticide is sold in the U.S., it must go through EPA's vigorous registration process, dictated by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). 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 its product lives up to its claims.

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.

For more information about pesticides, their health effects, how they should be used and disposed of, call the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-PES, or visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/pesticides/

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