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Bay area company will pay $16K for pesticide violations

Release Date: 07/05/2006
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano 415-947-4307

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined Envirosystems of Santa Clara, Calif., $16,358 for the alleged sale and distribution of an antimicrobial disinfectant that failed effectiveness testing, in violation of federal pesticide law.

The EPA cited Envirosystems for allegedly selling and distributing “EcoTru professional Broad Spectrum Disinfectant Cleaner,” “EcoTru 1453,” and “Steri-Safe.” All three products claim to be hospital-grade disinfectants that will eliminate potentially harmful bacteria commonly found in hospitals. Sampling results indicate the products do not live up to their claims.

“In order for a company to sell a hospital-grade disinfectant, the product needs to eliminate harmful bacteria,” said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “If the EPA finds that a product fails testing for product effectiveness, the company can expect significant penalties."

In 2005 the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs microbiology lab tested the effectiveness of these disinfectants and determined that, contrary to the claims on their labels, the products were ineffective against
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylcoccus aureus. Due to these testing failures, these pesticides do not meet their claims of being a broad- spectrum disinfectants suitable for hospital use.

Three companies - Andpak of Morgan Hill, Calif., Steri-cycle of Lake Forest, Ill., and Crosstex of Hauppauge, NY - distribute one or more of the ineffective products. Envirosystems has voluntarily initiated a recall of the products from these distributors. The company has also asked the distributors to notify their customers to discontinue using the products, and return them to the manufacturer.

Disinfectants are considered “pesticides” under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which regulates the production, distribution, and use of pesticides within the United States. Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, a company must register it with the EPA. As part of the registration process, the company must ensure that the pesticide meets the claims made on its label.

The enforcement action was based on an inspection performed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in January 2005.

For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please visit the EPA’s Web site


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