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U.S. EPA fines Oakland importer $61,000, protects consumers from illegal pesticides/ Venquest Trading sold illegal mothballs across Western United States

Release Date: 02/24/2009
Contact Information: Mary Simms, 415-947-4270,

(SAN FRANCISCO -- 2/24/2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today settled with an Oakland, Calif., importer for $61,000 for allegedly selling and distributing illegal mothballs, a violation of federal pesticide laws.

Venquest Trading, located at 8399 Edgewater Dr., imported unregistered naphthalene mothballs from Taiwan and distributed them to retailers in California and the Pacific Northwest on 241 separate occasions. The EPA’s Pacific Northwest region first discovered the company’s violations during a marketplace initiative to uncover illegal pesticide products. The agency’s Pacific Southwest office later conducted an inspection and uncovered violations at Venquest’s Oakland warehouse.

“Without proper labeling and registration, these illegal pesticides pose a serious threat to human health, particularly children’s health, who can mistake the mothballs for candy,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “Importing unregistered pesticides is a serious violation, as the registration process ensures we know what the pesticide contains, and that it is properly labeled with precautionary statements and directions for use.”

The EPA recommends that consumers pay careful attention to pesticides they use in and around their homes.

The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to directions. The EPA also makes sure that pesticide labels provide consumers with necessary information to use the products safely. Pesticides that have been registered with the agency will have an EPA registration number on the label.

The EPA provides information to consumers and retailers about these and other illegal household products through the publication of fact sheets on the EPA's Web site. The EPA also distributes flyers, such as “Protect Your Business: Avoid Selling Illegal Pesticides,” in both English and Chinese to businesses in San Francisco and Oakland Chinatowns and throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii.

The EPA has fined more than a dozen companies over the last several years for selling illegally imported mothballs. Importers, dealers and retailers can be fined up to $7,500 for each sale of illegal pesticide products.

For more information on unregistered pesticides, please visit: and