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EPA Files Complaint Against Oregon Pest Control Company after illegal use of pesticides leads to homeowner death

Release Date: 12/16/2008
Contact Information: Chad Schulze, EPA FIFRA Program, (206) 553-0505, schulze.chad@epa.gov Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

(Seattle, WASH. - December 16, 2008) Stemming from a pesticide exposure event that led to a Florence, Oregon woman’s death, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an Administrative Complaint to Swanson’s Pest Management, Inc. (Swanson’s) of Eugene, Oregon. The Complaint was filed following a review of Swanson’s use of two pesticides, which uncovered multiple violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

In the Complaint, EPA alleges that on June 29, 2005, Swanson’s illegally used the pesticides, Conquer Residential Insecticide Concentrate (EPA Reg. # 1021-1641-57076) and ULD BP-100 Contact Insecticide (EPA Reg. No. 499-452). The alleged illegal actions included: 1) failing to properly ventilate the homes prior to the occupants re-entering, 2) applying Conquer improperly as a “space spray”, and 3) improperly applying Conquer at nearly three times the allowable rate.

Tragically, one of the homeowners died when she entered her home approximately 2.5 hours after the pesticides were applied. Seven more people, including the responding paramedics, experienced respiratory distress or became ill when they entered the treated home.

The complaint also contains alleged violations pertaining to an application at another residence that took place prior to the application that led to the women’s death. In this case, the applicator allegedly used the same tank mix of pesticides, though no adverse health affects were reported.

Although the consequences of Swanson’s alleged violations were extremely serious, the federal pesticide law limits the penalty EPA can seek to a maximum of $4,550.

Swanson’s has thirty days from the day they receive the Complaint to either arrange a settlement conference, file an answer to the Complaint, or pay the proposed penalty.


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For more about EPA’s pesticide work and the Federal Fungicide, Insecticide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), go to: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/

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