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PA SETTLEMENT FILED TO STOP PESTICIDE DRIFT INTO RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES
Release Date: 04/11/97
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 1997
SETTLEMENT FILED TO STOP PESTICIDE DRIFT INTO RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITIES
Under a March 26 interim settlement filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tropical Fruit S.E. will take action to stop the drift of pesticides being sprayed at its Guayanilla Farm into nearby residential areas. In addition to protecting the nearby public from pesticide drift, the agreement, brought on behalf of EPA, also requires the company to protect its employees from harmful pesticide exposure. EPA has received numerous complaints from residents of Barrio Boca Sector Uva and Sector Guasima near Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, that pesticides used at the Tropical Fruit farm, which grows mangoes, bananas and plaitains, drift onto their properties. The company will control drift by restricting its spraying activities, such as adding a drift retardant to the pesticides and by not spraying pesticides on the sectors of the farm nearest the residential community when the wind speed is greater than six miles an hour. Wind speed and direction will be regularly measured and recorded using a special weather device approved by EPA. Tropical Fruit also will improve the protection of its farm workers by providing them with extensive training on proper methods of handling, applying, storing and disposing of pesticides. In addition, the company will provide protective clothing and respirators to its farm workers, and maintain decontamination equipment at the farm in case of worker exposure. In December 1996, EPA cited Tropical Fruit for spraying pesticides in a manner that resulted in pesticide drift beyond the farm’s boundaries and for failure to adequately protect its workers from exposure to pesticides. Simultaneous with the filing of the interim agreement, DOJ also filed a complaint seeking penalties and a permanent settlement with Tropical Fruit, alleging the company did not comply with EPA’s December order. The interim agreement is effective for one year, while the federal government expects to negotiate a final settlement with Tropical Fruit and its partners.
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