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Settlements with Pair of Related Norfolk, Neb., Pesticide Companies to Improve Pesticide Safety and Reliability

Release Date: 08/29/2014
Contact Information: Ben Washburn, 913-551-7364, washburn.ben@epa.gov

Environmental News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Lenexa, Kan., Aug. 29, 2014) - Custom Feed Services Corporation and Earthworks Health LLC, two separate pesticide companies based in Norfolk, Neb., with common ownership, have agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $74,513 to settle allegations related to the production and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

On behalf of EPA, in November 2011 the Nebraska Department of Agriculture conducted a for-cause inspection of the two companies at their shared facility in Norfolk, based on a tip. Custom Feed Services produces and distributes pesticides and agricultural products, while Earthworks Health sells and distributes pesticides and other products.

The inspection and subsequent investigation documented that on multiple occasions Custom Feed Services sold or distributed copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticide products that were not registered with EPA, and that were misbranded in that they lacked valid EPA registration numbers and production establishment numbers. The copper sulfate products also lacked applicable directions for use and personal protection language. In addition, Custom Feed Services produced the pesticide products in a facility that was not registered with EPA as a pesticide-producing facility in accordance with FIFRA. Under FIFRA, repackaging constitutes production.

On multiple occasions, Earthworks Health sold or distributed unregistered and misbranded copper sulfate and diatomaceous earth pesticides, in addition to an unregistered antibacterial product, Foaming DisposALL Drain Cleaner.

The use of non-exempt, unregistered pesticides may result in harm to human health or the environment, as they have not undergone the rigorous risk and label reviews necessary to ensure safe and effective use. Copper sulfate is an inorganic compound that can be used as a pesticide to kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails, and fungi. Improper use of copper sulfate can be toxic to fish and aquatic animals, and failure to take proper precautions may result in eye or skin injury to humans. Diatomaceous earth may cause eye or respiratory irritation if improperly handled.

Custom Feed Services’ civil penalty is $55,752 and Earthworks Health LLC’s civil penalty is $18,761. EPA calculates penalties by considering a variety of factors, including risk to the environment, size of the business, and ability to pay.

Under FIFRA, distributors of pesticides must ensure that the information on their products’ labels contains the same required cautionary information as found on the labels filed with EPA by the pesticides’ registrants, and that those pesticides are not distributed with claims that differ from the registration information filed with EPA.

Through their respective settlements with EPA, Custom Feed Services and Earthworks Health LLC have certified that they are now in compliance with FIFRA and its regulations.

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