An EPA inspection five years ago in the tiny town of Attica, Ohio (pop. 899), eventually led to a big settlement – more than $1.2 million – by Syngenta Crop Protection to the EPA to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The initial inspection occurred at Sunrise Cooperative in Attica. According to EPA’s Consent Agreement and Final Order, the inspector found false or misleading label information on Warden RTA, a seed treatment fungicide. Subsequent investigations in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas and Missouri allege additional instances of mislabeled, outdated or missing label information on various pesticide containers.
An official investigation started in August 2012 and concluded January 2015. Based on the evidence it collected, EPA says Syngenta had distributed and/or sold numerous pesticides to refillers before securing written repackaging agreements with those refillers.
Additionally, according to a statement by EPA: Syngenta also violated FIFRA by selling and distributing misbranded pesticides. Many of the labels affixed to the pesticide products and/or containers bore labels that were either outdated or not in conformance with the EPA accepted label. Some of these misbranded labels were of pesticides that were classified as restricted use. Syngenta violated FIFRA by failing to maintain records of study data submitted to the EPA for pesticide registration.
“The repackaging, sale and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides is illegal and puts people and the environment at risk,” says Anne Heard, Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeast. “Users rely on accurate, up-to-date information about ingredients, directions for use, hazards and safety precautions. This settlement sends a strong message to pesticide companies to maintain compliance with all federal environmental laws.”
The settlement, which was filed Sept. 15, 2016, includes $768,508 in civil penalties. Syngenta will also spend $436,990 to perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP), a four-year educational awareness training and campaign centered around compliance requirements that pertain to the Pesticide Container Containment Rule. According to EPA, Syngenta has 30 days to submit payment of the penalty to the U.S. Department of Treasury.