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EPA fines aerial applicator $5,500 for allowing pesticide to drift onto residential property

Release Date: 9/30/2003
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today fined an aerial pesticide applicator $5,500 after he applied two pesticides directly to or allowed them to drift onto residential properties in Queen Creek, Ariz.

During an aerial application to control insect pests on cotton, Crop First Aviation Inc. president and pilot, Christopher Carranza, directly sprayed or allowed Danitol 2.4 EC and Orthene 90 WSP to drift onto nearby residences adjacent to the field. Adults and children were at home during the pesticide application.

"Pesticide applicators have a responsibity to apply products in a manner that will not harm public health or the environment," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's Cross Media Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "Federal law requires pesticide applicators to apply registered products according to the label instructions and the EPA will continue to prosecute those who do not use them properly."

The label directions for these pesticides forbid application when persons other than protected handlers are in the area during application, or when application is conducted in a way that will contact persons either directly or through drift. The directions also forbid application in or around residential areas, or under conditions where pesticides may drift onto food, forage, or other plantings that might be damaged or rendered unfit for sale, use or consumption.

The Arizona Department of Agriculture began investigating after a resident complained. Due to the company's poor compliance history, the agency referred the case to the EPA. The company had received prior warnings and citations for similar violations.