EPA announces $1.8M settlement in DuPont insecticide case

Staff Report

WASHINGTON ‭ – ‬The U.S.‭ ‬Environmental Protection Agency‭ (‬EPA‭) ‬today announced a settlement with the E.I.‭ ‬du Pont de Nemours and Company‭ (‬DuPont‭) ‬for alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide,‭ ‬Fungicide,‭ ‬and Rodenticide Act‭ (‬FIFRA‭)‬.

DuPont will pay a‭ ‬$1,853,000‭ ‬penalty to resolve allegations that the company failed to submit reports to EPA about potential adverse effects of an herbicide product called Imprelis,‭ ‬and sold it with labeling that did not ensure its safe use.‭ ‬When customers applied the misbranded Imprelis product,‭ ‬it led to widespread death and damage to trees.

‭”‬EPA’s ability to protect the public from dangerous pesticides depends on companies complying with the legal obligation to disclose information on the harmful effects of ‭ ‬chemicals,‭” ‬said Cynthia Giles,‭ ‬EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance.‭ “‬This case sends the message that illegally withholding required information will be treated as a very serious violation.‭”

As part of the registration process for a pesticide or herbicide,‭ ‬FIFRA requires companies to submit to EPA reports on a product’s potential adverse impacts on plants or animals that it is not intended to control.‭ ‬During the registration process and after registration was approved for Imprelis,‭ ‬an herbicide product intended to control weeds like dandelions,‭ ‬clover,‭ ‬thistle,‭ ‬plantains and ground ivy,‭ ‬DuPont failed to submit‭ ‬18‭ ‬reports.

As a result,‭ ‬Imprelis‭ – ‬as it was registered and labeled‭ – ‬did not adequately protect against damage to certain tree species.‭ ‬DuPont made‭ ‬320‭ ‬shipments of Imprelis to distributors in‭ ‬2010‭ ‬and‭ ‬2011.‭ ‬This failure to submit reports and the sale or distribution of a misbranded pesticide or herbicide are violations of FIFRA.

DuPont has submitted over‭ ‬7,000‭ ‬reports to EPA of damage or death of trees‭ – ‬primarily Norway spruce and white pine‭ – ‬related to the application of Imprelis.‭ ‬Test data from DuPont confirmed certain coniferous trees,‭ ‬including Norway spruce and balsam fir,‭ ‬as susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis.‭ ‬There is also evidence that non-coniferous trees such as maple,‭ ‬honey locusts,‭ ‬lilacs,‭ ‬sycamores,‭ ‬and alders are susceptible to damage from Imprelis.

Starting in June‭ ‬2011,‭ ‬EPA began receiving complaints from state pesticide agencies regarding damage to trees related to the use of Imprelis when it was applied to control weeds.‭ ‬Cases of tree damage and death from Imprelis were widespread in the Midwest,‭ ‬especially Indiana,‭ ‬Illinois,‭ ‬Michigan,‭ ‬Minnesota,‭ ‬Ohio and Wisconsin.‭ ‬Indiana investigated more than‭ ‬400‭ ‬cases of tree damage related to Imprelis in‭ ‬2011.

In August‭ ‬2011,‭ ‬EPA ordered DuPont to stop selling and distributing Imprelis without prior approval from EPA.‭ ‬In September‭ ‬2011,‭ ‬the registration for Imprelis was amended to prohibit the sale,‭ ‬distribution or marketing of Imprelis.‭ ‬The product registration for Imprelis expired Sept.‭ ‬8,‭ ‬and DuPont is no longer selling the product.

Imprelis was distributed and sold in‭ ‬1‭ ‬gallon,‭ ‬2.5‭ ‬gallon and‭ ‬4.5‭ ‬ounce containers,‭ ‬primarily to pest control professionals servicing the lawn,‭ ‬golf,‭ ‬turf and weed control sectors.

Imprelis was registered with EPA in‭ ‬2010,‭ ‬and was marketed by DuPont for lawn and turf applications on residential and commercial lawns,‭ ‬golf courses,‭ ‬sod farms,‭ ‬schools,‭ ‬parks,‭ ‬and athletic fields.

The settlement,‭ ‬a consent agreement and final order,‭ ‬will be filed at EPA’s regional office in Philadelphia,‭ ‬and DuPont must submit payment of the penalty to the U.S.‭ ‬Department of Treasury within‭ ‬30‭ ‬days.


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