EPA Reaches Agreement on Federal Pesticide Rules Violations

(Atlanta, Ga. – September 19, 2008) The Southeast office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA Region 4) has settled an administrative penalty case against E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company (Dupont) and Griffin LLC Valdosta, GA (Griffin) for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

According to the terms of the settlement, Dupont and Griffin collectively will pay a total civil penalty of $877,500, and will undertake corrective actions to ensure that the violations do not recur. Dupont and Griffin manufacture, market, and sell a variety of pesticide products. These products are sold to farmers in the United States for use on cotton and tobacco.

“By law, pesticides must be properly labeled and registered,” said Beverly Bannister, EPA's Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division Director in Atlanta. “This helps ensure the safe use of pesticides and reduces risks to human health and the environment.”

Based on a review of pesticide importation records and inspections conducted by EPA and the Georgia Department of Agriculture at Dupont’s pesticide production facility in Valdosta, GA, EPA determined that Dupont and Griffin LLC had been importing a registered pesticide active ingredient, ethephon, from a non-approved manufacturing facility in China, and that the composition of the ethephon differed from the composition specified in the statement of formula set out in the registration.

As a result, the composition of two end-use products manufactured by the companies, Super Boll and CottonQuik, differed from the compositions specified in EPA’s approved registrations for those products. The original registrant, Griffin Corporation, began importing the active ingredient from the unapproved facility in 1996. In 1998, Griffin Corporation and Dupont formed Griffin LLC and in 2003, Dupont acquired 100% interest in Griffin LLC. Both Griffin LLC and Dupont continued the practice of importing the ethephon from the unapproved source in China.

EPA also determined that the containers of ethephon imported from China were misbranded in that they stated the incorrect percentage of the active ingredient ethephon contained in the product. Additionally, analytical results from samples of the end-use products Superboll and CottonQuik showed that they contained ethephon in concentrations exceeding the allowable certified limits specified in their registrations. After EPA notification in April 2005 that it was in violation of FIFRA, Dupont filed a registration amendment for the active ingredient to indicate the new source and to revise the formulation. Dupont recently sold the registrations for these products to another company.

Under FIFRA, all pesticides must be submitted to EPA for review, evaluation and registration to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. Proper identification of a pesticide’s active ingredients is an essential component of the regulatory scheme that helps to ensure a product’s integrity and safety. Pesticide manufacturers are required to clearly state the amount of active ingredients contained in each product and must manufacture the product within a specific range of the stated composition percentages. Pesticide products that contain too little or too much active ingredient may pose unreasonable risks to human health or the environment and may not perform effectively.

For more information on pesticide regulation and enforcement, please visit: http://epa.gov/compliance/civil/fifra.


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