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U.S. EPA fines Sierra Chemical Co. for pesticide violations Company pays more than $29,000 in penalties

Release Date: 09/10/2008
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270, simms.mary@epa.gov

(SAN FRANCISCO -- 9/10/2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined the Sparks, Nev.-based company Sierra Chemical Co. $29,100 for the alleged misuse of a pesticide and for distributing a pesticide with two different EPA registration numbers – violations of federal pesticide law.

The Sierra Pure Chlor label states ‘mix only with water according to label directions.’ During a delivery of the product to a community swimming pool in Reno, a Sierra Chemical Co. employee allegedly misused Sierra Pure Chlor by mixing it with muriatic acid. The improper mixture created a strong chlorine gas that caused the evacuation and transportation of swimmers to local hospitals.

“Companies that service swimming pools must ensure that label directions are followed and precautions taken to ensure harm does not occur,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “In this case, failure to follow label directions resulted in a hazardous situation.”

In addition, Sierra Pure Chlor was distributed on five occasions to various pool supply stores and municipalities with two different registration numbers on the bottles, one which correctly identified the product and one which incorrectly identified the product.

The Nevada Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation identified the violations during multiple inspections.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulates the sale, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. Each producer, seller, and distributor is required pursuant to federal law to ensure that the registered pesticide is labeled in accordance with agency requirements.

For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please
visit: www.epa.gov/pesticides/

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