WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Harrell’s LLC, a pesticide producer based in Lakeland, Fla., has agreed to pay $1,736,560 in civil penalties for allegedly distributing and selling misbranded pesticides and other violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The penalty is one of the largest ever for an enforcement case under FIFRA.
“The law requires that pesticides be labeled to help prevent any harm to people and the environment,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA’s Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Pesticides can be highly toxic to fish and other wildlife and can contaminate our drinking water. Proper labeling is critical to ensure that people know how to use them correctly and safely.'
In the settlement, which was approved by EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board, the agency alleged that Harrell’s violated FIFRA on numerous occasions between 2010 and 2012, allegedly distributing or selling pesticides over 350 times without labels or with labels that were completely illegible. EPA also alleged that the company distributed or sold pesticides in violation of a prior “stop sale” order issued by EPA, and produced large amounts of pesticides over several years at its Alabama facility before registering with EPA. The agency discovered the violations during field inspections conducted in 2012.
The settlement with Harrell requires the company to ensure that its production and distribution centers are operating in compliance with all regulations under FIFRA. The company has corrected all of the violations.
Harrell’s produces pesticides at facilities in Sylacauga, Ala. and Lakeland, Fla. and operates distribution centers in Danbury, Conn.; Auburn, Mass.; Lombard, Ill.; New Hudson, Mich.; Homestead, Fla.; Whitestown, Ind.; and in the cities of Butler and York, Pa. Harrell’s sells most of its products to golf courses and some to the horticulture, nursery, turf and landscape sectors. The company does not sell products to individual consumers or to retail stores.
In addition to producing its own pesticides, Harrell’s also produces and sells pesticides that are registered with EPA by other companies, acting as a “supplemental” distributor. The EPA is focusing national enforcement efforts on these activities because, in many cases, the agency has found that labels on pesticides produced and sold by supplemental distributors often lack critical information required by law, which increases the risk of harm from potential misuse of the product.
The purpose of FIFRA is to ensure that no pesticides are produced, imported, distributed, sold, or used in a manner that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Without proper facility registration and reporting, EPA cannot determine where and in what manner pesticides and devices are being produced, sold, and distributed.
The settlement, which is effective immediately, requires that Harrell’s pay the penalty within 30 days of the date of EAB filing. The settlement is available at http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/harrells-llc-pesticide-settlement
For more information on EPA regulation of pesticides: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/regulating/index.htm