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eBay, Other Sites Told to Stop Selling Illegal Ant Bait

The Environmental Protection Agency has stopped the sale of a banned pesticide that was available on retail site Fastpestcontrol.com and through internet auction sites such as eBay.

The agency has also warned more than 2,800 customers that bought Fast Ant Bait about the dangers associated with it.

Fast Ant Bait contains mirex, a pesticide that was banned in 1978 because it can cause damage to the liver, skin and the nervous and reproductive systems.

The agency became aware of the product after the Washington State Department of Health reported that a woman became ill after using it in her home.

In response, the EPA identified and warned three online companies, eBay Inc., 2Checkout.com Inc. and CCNow, Inc. to cease processing orders for the product that was produced in and mailed from China.

The three companies cooperated and immediately ceased processing orders. Consumers can also no longer purchase Fast Ant Bait from Fastpestcontrol.com, the EPA said.

But as recently as yesterday, Fastpestcontrol.com was still advertising the product as “safe and effective” (see screenshot, above left), Environmental Leader discovered.

The companies also worked with the EPA to provide sales information, which allowed the agency to contact customers directly with a letter about the dangers posed by the pesticide and proper disposal methods.

Fastpestcontrol.com also sells another illegal product, Antimos Mosquito Repellant, the EPA’s letter says.

“Illegal pesticides are often much more toxic than approved pesticides,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  “When the EPA takes a pesticide off the market, it means that pesticide was not safe. Consumers should use only EPA-registered pesticides and always follow the label directions to ensure their safety.”

In October 2010 the EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection lodged a proposed settlement of $136,331.98 with Rutgers Organic Corp. for cleanup costs associated with a site where the company formerly produced chemicals including mirex.

The Centre County Kepone Site was a batch chemical manufacturing plant located near State College Borough, Pa. Rutgers Organics Corp. manufactured mirex for Occidental Petroleum Co.  in 1973 and 1974, and kepone – another insecticide – in 1958, 1959, and 1963. It was designated a Superfund site in 1983.

Update: This post was updated with a screenshot of and information about the Fastpestcontrol site.

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