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EPA Cites Grocery Wholesaler in Columbia, Md. for Violating Federal Pesticide Law

Release Date: 2/24/2005
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has cited Rhee Bros., Inc., for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) at its grocery wholesale facility in Columbia, Md.

Under the FIFRA law, pesticide products must be registered with EPA before the pesticides are distributed or sold in the U.S. The registration requirements are designed to avoid unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment, to ensure proper labeling and use instructions on pesticides, and to prevent false, misleading, or unverifiable claims about pesticides.

According to EPA=s complaint, Rhee Bros. imported and marketed a Korean-made mothball product called AJOMYAK (napthalene) OXY@ without the required EPA pesticide registration. EPA worked with New Jersey and Maryland officials in investigating the company=s alleged FIFRA violations. A Maryland Department of Agriculture inspection on February 2, 2004 revealed over 450 sales of the unregistered pesticide from January 2000 through July 2003.

EPA warns consumers that these products could be harmful to children. This illegal pesticide could easily be mistaken for candy. The front of several packages are pictured with cartoons, the product looks like candy, and the ingredients and instructions for use are not written in English. If you have purchased this product, please do not use them. To dispose of it, contact your local hazardous waste collection facility or return it to the store where you purchased it.

FIFRA provides a statutory maximum penalty of $5,500 per violation. EPA will propose a penalty after the company has had the opportunity to answer the complaint and provide additional information about the alleged violations.

The company may request a hearing to contest the alleged violations and proposed penalty. See for more information about EPA’s pesticide program. For further questions about pesticides, call the national pesticide information center at 800-858-7378.