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Environmental Enforcement: Retailer Fined $222,000 After Detergent Bug Claims

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday that it has fined a Honolulu-based retailer of Japanese goods $222,030 for selling and distributing unregistered pesticides in detergents, cleaners and other household products.

According to the EPA, Marukai Corp. sold 37 different household products at the company’s retail outlets including kitchen and bathroom cleaners, detergents, and other home care products that claim to kill insects, germs or bacteria and were not registered with the agency. In addition, the company sold two roach trap products that were mislabeled and did not have directions for use.

The violations were discovered during inspections conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide’s Branch in 2008.

The $222,030 fine was reached as part of a settlement with the EPA. In addition to the penalty, the company agreed to have its managers, supervisors and purchasing agents at all stores complete a basic training course covering all of EPA’s pesticide rules and regulations, and after completing the initial training, receive yearly refresher training once a year.

“Consumer products claiming to disinfect, kill, or control germs and pests, including home care products, must be registered as pesticides,” said EPA spokesman Dean Higuchi in a press release.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, all pesticide in the U.S., even soaps and detergents that claim to kill bacteria, must be registered with the EPA before they can be sold.

“These requirements protect public health and the environment by minimizing the risks associated with the production, handling, and application of pesticides,” the agency said in its release.

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