By Jim Hagerty
Chemical giant DuPont has been ordered to pay a $1.8 million penalty to settle allegations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it failed to submit reports about the dangers of one of its products.
In a settlement released Monday, Sept. 15, DuPont agreed to pay $1,853,000 for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodentcide Act (FIFRA) by misbranding a herbicide product called Imprelis.
The EPA found that DuPont sold the product without disclosing its risk to the health of certain trees. As a result, the weed controlling product caused widespread damage to Norway spruce and white pines, mostly in the Midwest. The company submitted more than 7,000 reports to the EPA detailing damage to the species. Tree damage occurred in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin between 2010 and 2011.
The EPA also found that several other species — balsam fir, lilac, maple, honey locust sycamore and alder — are also susceptible to being damaged or killed by Imprelis.
“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.”
The company also failed to submit 18 reports that it made more than 320 shipments of the misbranded product. The FIFRA requires companies to reveal a product’s potential adverse effects on plants and wildlife.
“Responsible product stewardship is one of DuPont’s core values, and we are pleased to have this matter behind us,” the company said in a statement Sept. 15.
Imprelis is used to control dandelions, thistle and a variety of other invasive weeds. It is used in the lawn, golf and weed-control markets.
DuPont has 30 days to submit payment to the U.S. Department of Treasury.
In August, the company was ordered to pay more than $3.5 million after one of its workers died of exposure to methyl chloride. The EPA discovered that the substance, among others, had been leaking at the DuPont facility in Belle, West Virginia, from 2006 to 2010.
From the Sept. 17-23, 2014, issue