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EPA Fines Two Suffolk County Firms For Selling Off-Spec, Misbranded Products

Release Date: 03/27/2007
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666,

(New York, N.Y.) A pesticide producer and a telemarketer and distributor in Suffolk County, New York will pay a total of $145,000 for violating the federal pesticide law. Both companies allegedly sold off-spec, misbranded products, with the second also making false claims, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Agency cited the Topaz Turf Corporation in Holtsville and its distributor, Southern Chemical Supply, Inc. in Bohemia. In its complaint, EPA alleged that both companies had been involved in distributing off-spec and misbranded pesticides to the public since at least October 2003. Topaz has agreed to pay $65,000 and Southern has agreed to pay $80,000 in financial penalties under the agreements with EPA being announced today.

“Companies which sell misformulated, unregistered or misbranded pesticides to unsuspecting customers and telemarketers that make misstatements about products will pay a stiff price for their disservice to the public and the environment, both in fines and the trust of their clients,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “EPA and its partners in the states are keeping a close eye on would be violators.”

Any pesticide product, such as a weed killer, contains a certain percentage of active chemical ingredients approved by EPA for a specific end-use. By law, these registered formulations must match the information on the product label and must have the correct EPA product registration numbers. The percentage of active ingredient in the weed killer sold by Topaz and/or Southern didn’t match the claims made on the labels. In addition, the Agency cited Topaz for selling an unregistered product designed to kill insects on plants and for failing to maintain and furnish records on this product. EPA also found that Southern made misstatements in its telemarketing messages to customers when selling the pesticides.

In February 2006, after discovering the violations during inspections conducted jointly with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, EPA ordered both companies to stop selling their products. Both companies stopped selling the pesticides identified in EPA’s Orders.

Topaz wrote EPA in April 2006 indicating that it had conducted an investigation of the problems in manufacturing and documentation that were uncovered by EPA and the state and that it corrected the problem by implementing a new quality control program during the production process. As part of the settlement, Topaz will submit to EPA a copy of its new program aimed at ensuring the problems in the manufacturing process do not reoccur. Southern Chemical is no longer in business.

For more information about pesticides and the dangers of using products that contain pesticides not registered by EPA, go to