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EPA files complaint against Nevada Onion for alleged pesticide violations

Release Date: 06/30/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint against Nevada Onion, an agricultural establishment, for the improper and unsafe use of registered pesticides, a violation of federal pesticide law.

The EPA is seeking up to $70,400 in civil penalties from Nevada Onion for 64 violations of the federal Worker Protection Standard. The Nevada Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during an August 2007 inspection. The inspection was initiated in response to reports of field workers seeking medical attention for significant injuries, allegedly resulting from pesticide exposure.

“Employers of agricultural workers must ensure that their employees are provided with information and safeguards that minimize their risk of pesticide exposure,” said Katherine A. Taylor, associate director for agriculture for the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division in the Pacific Southwest Region. “Failure to comply with any of these requirements is considered a serious violation that can endanger the health and safety of employees and others in the area.”

The EPA alleges that Nevada Onion, located 61 Bowman Lane in Yerington, Nev., 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 requiring (1) that workers be notified of recent pesticide applications on particular fields to minimize the risk of exposure, and (2) that decontamination supplies be available to these workers in case exposure does occur.

The Worker Protection Standard, part of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, aims to protect worker health and the environment from 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 federal regulation and enforcement of pesticides, please visit http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/ and www.epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra/index.html

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