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EPA takes action against Nevada Onion for failing to protect workers from pesticide exposure / Nevada Onion to pay more than $50,000 for 64 counts

Release Date: 12/04/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined a Yerington, Nev., agricultural establishment $56,320 for allegedly misusing pesticides and failing to comply with pesticide worker safety laws.

Nevada Onion, located at 61 Bowman Ln., misused the pesticides Lannate LV, Champ Dry Prill, Dithane DF, Thiosperse, Thiolux, and Diatec II during numerous applications throughout 2007. Nevada Onion failed to comply with label directions that require the company to minimize the risk of exposure by notifying workers of recent pesticide applications on particular fields, and failed to have decontamination supplies available to workers in case of exposure.

“EPA takes seriously the protection of agricultural workers,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “And it’s a serious violation of the law when employers don’t provide their agricultural workers with information and protections that minimize the risk of potential exposure to pesticides.”

The Nevada Department of Agriculture discovered the violations after it inspected the facility in August 2007 following reports that field workers were seeking medical attention for significant injuries allegedly resulting from pesticide exposure.

The Worker Protection Standard, part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, aims to protect workers from occupational exposure to pesticides through the strict enforcement of labeling requirements. The standard contains requirements for the provision of pesticide safety training, decontamination supplies, and emergency medical assistance, as well as the notification of recent pesticide applications, the use of protective equipment, and restrictions on reentry into fields where pesticides have been applied.

For more information on the federal regulation and enforcement of pesticides, please visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ and http//:www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra/index.html. For further information on the Worker Protection Standard, please visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/worker.htm