Pesticide distributor in Tumwater, Washington, agrees to settle alleged EPA pesticide labeling violations

SEATTLE WA (6/10/2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with pesticide distributor CH2O of Tumwater resolving alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Under the terms of a recently signed and filed (May 28) Consent Agreement and Final Order, CH2O will pay a civil penalty of $92,900 to resolve the alleged violations. CH2O is a specialty water treatment company serving public institutions, industries, and agriculture with water treatment chemicals and technologies.

“Pesticide labeling laws ensure that consumers have clear and current information about products and how to safely use them,” said Lauris Davies, Acting Director of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division in Seattle. “Companies who register, formulate or distribute registered pesticides, fungicides or rodenticides must ensure that all containers or packaging bear the most recent EPA-approved labeling.”

During a routine FIFRA compliance inspection conducted at CH2O’s facility in May 2018, EPA inspectors became aware of a discrepancy in the labeling of a product called PACT-5 an industrial pesticide used to control algae, bacteria and fungi in cooling towers, cooling water and fuels. The product’s label featured the wrong signal word: “CAUTION” in place of the required “DANGER.” Under the federal pesticide law, “CAUTION” represents the lowest toxicity ranking for pesticides, whereas “DANGER” signifies the highest hazard. Label completeness and accuracy are two important safeguards for both consumers and professionals when handling and applying pesticides.

Precautionary statements provide pesticide users with critically important information, including product toxicity and steps to reduce potential for exposure. When FIFRA-regulated manufacturers, formulators or distributors fail to include accurate and complete information on a pesticide label, users can be not only misinformed, but also at greater risk of exposure to potential health hazards.

EPA’s review of the information collected identified additional PACT-5 label violations. In all, EPA’s settlement with CH2O documented 13 counts of sale and distribution of misbranded PACT-5.

FIFRA registration and labeling requirements protect human health and the environment by ensuring pesticides in the marketplace are tested and safe to use. Registering a pesticide for use is a comprehensive scientific, legal, and administrative procedure that EPA administers.

For more on FIFRA and its requirements, visit: https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-federal-insecticide-fungicide-and-rodenticide-act

Contact: Mark MacIntyre/EPA-Seattle/206-553-7302/ macintyre.mark@epa.gov

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