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U.S. EPA seeks $154,000 from Oakland, Novato, Calif. facilities for selling unregistered, misbranded pesticides

Release Date: 9/29/2004
Contact Information: Laura Gentile ( - 415/947-4227 (desk) or 415/760-9161 (cell)

SAN FRANCISCO -- This week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is seeking $154,000 in penalties from an Oakland company and a Novato group for distributing unregistered and misbranded pesticides.

The complaint against Chemical Compounding Co. and PolyChem alleges 14 counts of distribution or sale of unregistered pesticides and 14 counts of mislabeling the pesticides, both violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The PolyChem group also does business as Q Labs.

Chemical Compounding and PolyChem were distributing MicroTreat 50 and MicroTreat 88, two pesticides whose registrations expired in 1989. In addition, the complaint alleges problems with the product labeling. MicroTreat 50 and MicroTreat 88 were marketed to kill microbes in industrial water cooling towers.

Both product labels contained the words "NON REGULATED MATERIAL," which could have misled the user into thinking the product was safe enough to use that no regulation was required. The complaint was based on information provided by the company and obtained during a January 2003 inspection by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

"Continued distribution of a canceled pesticide could result in harm to public health and the environment," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Cross Media Division for the Pacific Southwest region. "It is the company's responsibility to make sure that each pesticide it sells or distributes is properly registered with the EPA."

Federal law requires that before selling or distributing a pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. Each producer, seller, and distributor has certain obligations to ensure that the pesticide being distributed or sold is properly registered and labeled. For registration information on approximately 90,000 products, go to

Before registering a new pesticide or approving a new use for a registered pesticide, the EPA must first ensure that the pesticide, when used according to label directions, can be used without posing unreasonable risks to people or the environment. The agency also ensures that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely.