Massive fine for illegal use of pesticide

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The high price of illegal pest control has been underlined by what must be one of the biggest, if not the biggest penalties ever. Terminix International has agreed to pay $10 million for illegally using the pesticide, methyl bromide, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

According to the United States Department of Justice: “The $10 million penalty includes $8 million in criminal fines, $1 million in restitution to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for response and clean-up costs and a $1 million community service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the purpose of engaging a third party to provide training to pesticide applicators in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

The case goes back 12 months when a family of four fell seriously ill after being exposed to the pesticide while on holiday in the Virgin Islands. It is alleged that the apartment below theirs was fumigated with methyl bromide by Terminex causing ‘profoundly debilitating injuries’.

Commenting on the case, the Assistant Attorney General John C Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division said: “When misused, highly toxic pesticides can have catastrophic consequences and that’s why those who are certified to apply them must do so responsibly and lawfully. The facts in this case show the Terminix companies knowingly failed to properly manage their pest control operations in the US Virgin Islands, allowing pesticides containing methyl bromide to be applied illegally and exposing a family of four to profoundly debilitating injuries.”

The agreement is subject to final approval by a district court judge. Read the full Justice Department release: TERMINIX companies agree to pay $10 million for applying restricted-use pesticide to residences in the US Virgin Islands.

CNN is among the many USA-based media that have reported the news, which will have done the Terminix reputation no good at all! View the CNN report here.

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