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EPA fines Saipan company $26,000 for pesticide violations

Release Date: 01/02/2008
Contact Information: David Yogi, 808-541-2726,

HONOLULU - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently settled with Japan Water Systems of Capitol Hill, Saipan, for $26,000 for allegedly distributing an unregistered water disinfectant in violation of federal pesticide laws.

The EPA cited the company for allegedly selling and distributing an unregistered water disinfectant “Tosoh Cube.” The product, a 12 percent sodium hypochlorite solution, was imported from Japan and sold to hotels and other businesses in Saipan for private water system disinfection. The products, labeled almost entirely in Japanese, lacked directions for use, precautionary statements, and other labeling required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

“In order for a company to sell a disinfectant, it must be registered with the EPA,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director for the EPA Pacific Southwest region’s Communities and Ecosystems Division. “Registration ensures that the products will have proper labeling, including instructions, warnings, and first aid information. Without the required label, there’s no way for a consumer to know how to use the product effectively, or to protect themselves from harm.”

The company discontinued all sales of the unregistered product, and shipped it back to Japan. Existing customers were notified to discontinue use of the product.

Sodium hypochlorite is an extremely corrosive disinfectant that, at its full strength, can cause severe damage to the eyes and skin. Disinfectants are considered pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the production, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States.

Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed in the U.S. fully comply with federal pesticide regulations. Both the EPA and CNMI DEQ have increased enforcement efforts on the island to ensure compliance with federal pesticide law and the CNMI pesticide regulations.

For more information on what types of products are regulated as pesticides under the federal law, please visit: . Information on pesticide regulation and enforcement is available at: . The CNMI DEQ’s pesticide program is online at: . # # #