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EPA FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST ISLAND GROWER FOR PESTICIDE VIOLATIONS
Release Date: 5/21/1999
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA,(415) 744-1588, Ann Takiguchi, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, (808) 973-9560
RELEASED JOINTLY BY THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY AND THE HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Ginger grower Kap Dong Kim faces penalties of up to $12,1000
SAN FRANCISCO-- Kap Dong Kim, a ginger grower in Hilo, was cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today for alleged violations of the worker protection standard under a federal pesticide law. Kim faces penalties of up to $12,100.
"This individual knowingly disregarded the health and safety of his employees," said Enrique Manzanilla, regional director of the EPA's Cross-Media Division. "His callous pursuit of self-interest is a betrayal to those thousands of farmers across the country who are working hard to provide a safe environment for their workers."
The EPA filed a civil complaint against Kim, charging him with 11 counts of violating pesticide use and safety laws under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The U.S. Attorney's Office, on behalf of the EPA, filed criminal charges against Kim yesterday.
Kim is charged with allowing an employee to come into contact with Nemacur, a highly toxic pesticide. The farm worker applying the pesticide was hospitalized for three days in intensive care. Kim is also charged with failing to provide protective equipment or training on pesticide safety and safe use of pesticide-application equipment; use of restricted-use pesticides without certification, storing restricted-use pesticides illegally at a residence, and applying a restricted-use pesticide to a crop not allowed for that product.
"What's unfortunate about this case is that it could have been prevented, if Mr. Kim had taken the necessary precautions and safeguards to comply with worker protection requirements," said James J. Nakatani, chairperson for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
"It's in the best interest of all of us in agriculture, especially the farmer, to train workers to understand the hazards associated with improper pesticide use and to provide safe working conditions, including proper clothing, equipment, and decontamination facilities."
The EPA action is built on an investigation by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. Kap Dong Kim had received prior warnings from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for pesticide safety violations.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture Pesticide Education Program provides farmers with information on how to comply with pesticide use requirements. For more information on this program, farmers in Hawaii can call: (808) 973-9411 (Oahu), (808) 974-4142 (Hilo, Hawaii), and (808) 873-3555 (Maui).