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Two Bay Area facilities pay $92,400 to resolve violations of environmental regulations

Release Date: 3/21/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano 415-947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO – This week, an Oakland company and a Novato group agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency $92,400 for distributing unregistered and misbranded pesticides.

The EPA fined Chemical Compounding Co. of Oakland and PolyChem/Q Labs of Novato for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The EPA fined the companies for distributing MicroTreat 50 and MicroTreat 88, two pesticides whose registrations were cancelled in 1989.

The pesticides were marketed to kill microbes in industrial water cooling towers. Chemical Compounding manufactured the pesticides and Polychem sold the products to various industries, including dairies and technology companies.

The EPA alleged that both cancelled products were mislabeled and contained language that was misleading, incomplete, and out of date. Both product labels also contained the words “non-regulated material,” which could have misled the user to assume the product was safe and that no regulation was required.

“Failure to properly label and register pesticides could result in harm to public health and the environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's communities and ecosystems division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Companies are required to properly register pesticides before selling or distributing these products in the United States.”

The complaint was based on information provided by the companies and obtained during two inspections conducted in 2003 by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Each producer, seller, and distributor must ensure that pesticides being distributed or sold are properly registered and labeled. Before registering a new 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. For information on approximately 20,000 pesticides that are registered with the EPA, go to