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Release Date: 9/29/1999
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, (415) 744-1589

EPA announces Urban Initiative for Consumer Safety

     LOS ANGELES   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken enforcement actions against seven southern California companies for violating federal pesticide requirements.  The companies are being asked to pay over $145,000 in fines.

     "Consumers rely on companies to test products and label them properly,"said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's regional pesticides program.  "Pesticides can't be used safely unless people have the information they need on the product's label.  If that information is missing, it's our job to do something about it."

     The EPA will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions.  The agency also makes sure that pesticide labels provide consumers with the information they need to use the products safely.  

     These civil complaints are based on inspections conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Nevada Department of Agriculture.  The complaints are part of the EPA's ongoing effort to prevent the marketing of unregistered pesticides.

Protecting Children's Health
     The EPA has cited five companies for selling unregistered pesticides, insecticidal chalks and moth repellants, which are hazardous to children.  The sale of unregistered pesticides is a violation of federal pesticide laws.  The EPA is seeking penalties totalling over $30,000.

     Pretty Baby of Pomona, and JEDD's of Anaheim were cited for selling unregistered insecticidal chalk products.  99 Ranch Market of Buena Park; Haimin International, Inc. of Brea;  and Hocean, Inc. of City of Commerce were cited for selling unregistered naphthalene moth repellent products.

     In 1998 the EPA launched a major nation-wide Urban Initiative to highlight pesticide safety in the home. The EPA's western regional office is targeting companies which sell or distribute pesticides that present a particular risk to children.  In the products cited today, the form of the products -- chalk and crystals -- makes them attractive to children, and their packaging contains no child-protection warnings or child-resistant packaging.

Protecting the Food that We Eat
     The EPA has cited Sunrider International of Torrance, for selling unregistered pesticides and making unproven claims about their effectiveness, in violation of federal pesticide laws.  The EPA is seeking $99,000 in penalties.  

     In the complaint issued on Sept. 27, 1999, Sunrider International was cited for selling an unregistered fruit and vegetable wash, called SunSmile Fruit and Vegetable Rinse, claiming that the product rinses away parasites and their eggs, bacteria, and  fungus. The company is working with the EPA to resolve these issues, and has notified the agency that it has removed the claims from product labels and advertising.

Protecting Animals
     In a related matter, the EPA today announced settlement of an enforcement action against Pet People Pet Food and Supplies Inc.of Solana Beach for selling unregistered pesticides in violation of federal pesticide laws.  The company will pay a $15,400 fine.

     Pet People sold unregistered versions of the popular flea-control products "Advantage for Dogs" and "Advantage for Cats" that had been packaged for sale in other countries.  The packages did not include information required to use the products safely.

     In registering the product for use in the United States, the EPA restricted use of "Advantage for Dogs" to puppies older than 7 weeks of age, and this requirement was not listed on the label. Also missing from the label was the EPA's recommendation that pets be treated no more than once per month.  Finally, dosages were listed in metric measurements, which could result in overdosing or under-dosing of pets by consumers unfamiliar with the metric system.