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EPA Sues Mosquito Control Company for Failure to Protect Its Workers' Safety

Release Date: 01/06/2005
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For Release: Thursday, January 6, 2005

(#05001) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has filed a complaint against Clarke Environmental Mosquito Management, Inc. for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act between May and November of 2000. During that period, the company applied pesticides throughout the five boroughs under a contract with the New York City Department of Health to control disease-carrying mosquitos and reduce the risk of West Nile Virus. Clarke Environmental is headquartered in Roselle, Illinois.

EPA is seeking penalties of $742,500 against the company for having pesticide applicators use the registered pesticides Anvil and Vectolex in a manner not permitted by the labeling.

"In an atmosphere of heightened concern about the spread of West Nile Virus, Clarke Environmental sent its employees out into the neighborhoods of New York City to apply mosquito control sprays with disregard for their health," said Kathleen C. Callahan, Acting EPA Region 2 Administrator. "By failing to comply with label precautions, the company allowed the workers to be exposed daily to the potentially harmful effects of the chemical ingredients of these products, clearly violating federal pesticide rules."

Clarke Environmental has the opportunity to plead its case before an administrative law judge or to contact EPA to negotiate an informal settlement of the matter.