EPA Files Complaint for Rat Poison Sold in Plastic Baggies

March 04, 2024
The EPA has filed a complaint seeking $149,659 in civil penalties against Timothy Wilson, a pesticide dealer doing business as Wilson’s Pest Control with two locations in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.
According to EPA, Wilson’s sold pesticides that were misbranded and unregistered, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and the company’s actions may present a danger to consumers.
“Without proper labeling, consumers may put themselves and their families at risk through exposure to toxic chemicals,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “The Agency is determined to protect consumers, especially those in areas already overburdened by pollution, from these illegal and unsafe practices.”
In June 2022, EPA inspectors discovered unlabeled, plastic zip-top baggies of rodent bait products and other improperly repackaged and misbranded rodenticides offered for sale at Wilson’s Pest Control’s 2400 Grand Boulevard location in St. Louis. Following the inspection, EPA issued Wilson’s a stop-sale order prohibiting the further sale of any unregistered, illegally repackaged, and/or misbranded pesticides and invited the company to negotiate a civil penalty to resolve the violations.
In July 2023, after reports of similar zip-top baggies of rodent bait products appearing on Wilson’s store shelves at its 2616 Woodson Road location in Overland, Missouri, EPA attempted to inspect there to determine the company’s compliance with the stop-sale order, but the company’s owner denied the inspection. EPA says that penalty negotiations also broke down around this time, resulting in the Agency’s decision to file a complaint.
EPA identified the communities surrounding both Wilson’s Pest Control locations as potentially sensitive areas with exposure to many sources of pollution. EPA is strengthening enforcement in overburdened communities to address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of pollution on vulnerable populations.
Due to the potential for accidental poisonings, rodenticide poison products sold to consumers have extensive labeling that describes directions for use, safety precautions, and how to seek medical attention for children and pets if unintentionally ingested. Under the law, unlabeled or improperly labeled pesticides are considered misbranded. Directions for use and other label requirements are critical for people to safely use pesticides. Further, illegally repackaging pesticides renders them unregistered under federal law.
If used improperly, rat poisons and other pesticides could cause poisoning to humans, pets, or non-target animals. Further, rodent bait products typically contain an anticoagulant that interferes with blood clotting and death can result from excessive bleeding.
If you have purchased unlabeled or unregistered pesticides from Wilson’s Pest Control, please contact your waste provider for disposal options.
Settlement Reached over Stormwater Pollution in Los Angeles
The EPA has entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with S & W Atlas Iron & Metal Co., Inc. over claims of Clean Water Act violations at its facility in Los Angeles, California. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will undertake several steps to upgrade their treatment system and to prevent stormwater pollutants—including metals—from discharging onto the grounds of Jordan High School and into Compton Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River.
“Tackling the harmful pollution carried in stormwater is a vital part of the Clean Water Act. This order requires Atlas to improve their stormwater treatment and eliminate any water pollutant discharge from leaving the site and reaching Jordan High School,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment by reducing exposure to lead and heavy metals, especially for children and communities with environmental justice concerns.”
Pollutants from industrial facilities that are carried by stormwater, if not properly managed, can impact water quality and aquatic life. This occurs when rainwater washes over surfaces at industrial sites, picking up harmful pollutants like chemicals, metals, and sediments before flowing offsite into nearby streams, rivers, and lakes. The Clean Water Act requires that certain industrial facilities, such as S &W Atlas Iron & Metal, obtain permits to control the discharge of pollutants in stormwater runoff to water bodies. These facilities must develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention plans.
EPA alleges that for the 2022-2023 monitoring period, S &W Atlas Iron & Metal exceeded the limits for levels of iron, zinc, and copper in its discharge. These limits are meant to protect the Los Angeles River. Additionally, EPA alleges that S & W Atlas discharged stormwater through unauthorized breaches in a perimeter wall onto Jordan High School property. To settle these EPA claims of violations, S & W Atlas has agreed to:
  1. Submit and implement a Stormwater Containment Plan.
  2. Operate and maintain the stormwater treatment system and stormwater/oil separator according to the manufacturer’s manual.
  3. Include standard operating procedures in the Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).
  4. Require and provide frequent training for employees according to the updated SWPPP.
EPA conducts inspections and takes enforcement actions as part of its mission to protect public health and the environment. EPA will monitor S & W Atlas Iron & Metal’s progress and take further action should the company fail to meet its obligations.
Learn more about the stormwater training by watching our YouTube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePDBxg7reFA&list=PLAl9os-Y-zK1liAMXv3Y0q2uBMdLBQLVF&index=5
Global Manufacturer of Metal Cast, Auto Parts Cited for Exposing Workers to Electrical Hazards
Six days after opening a complaint inspection at a Columbus auto parts manufacturer in August 2023, federal safety investigators learned that a 41-year-old maintenance technician at the site endured severe injuries from an electrical transformer explosion and opened a second investigation.
OSHA investigators found that the worker of Aludyne Columbus LLC – operating as Aludyne Columbus Foundry – was severely injured by an arc flash while attempting to replace a blown fuse on a transformer and was later transported to Piedmont Hospital.
Across both inspections, OSHA cited Aludyne Columbus for 22 serious and three other-than-serious violations. Specifically, the agency found the employer:
  • Failed to require employees to don appropriately certified electrical suits while changing out electrical components in a high voltage energized area.
  • Allowed workers to use non-insulated tools within approximately 12 inches of energized power lines in a high voltage energized area.
  • Exposed workers to an airborne concentration of respirable silica of up to 15 times above the permissible time-weighted average.
  • Failed to provide National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved respirators to employees exposed to silicosis hazards.
  • Did not provide fit testing to workers required to wear respirators while exposed to crystalline silica.
  • Failed to provide protective equipment such as goggles and gloves to workers handling chemicals.
  • Did not keep an emergency eye wash station free from debris and ready for immediate use.
"Aludyne Columbus LLC's failure to prioritize employee safety and health nearly cost a worker their life and allowed employees to be overexposed to silica well above the permissible exposure limit," said OSHA Atlanta-West Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy. "This employer must take worker safety seriously by assessing hazards and taking responsibility for protecting their workers."
OSHA has proposed $182,344 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.
EPA and DOJ File Complaint Against Ranch Alleging Significant Violations that Threaten Wildlife
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against Ace Black Ranches LLP of Bruneau, Idaho, alleging significant violations of the Clean Water Act affecting the Bruneau River in Idaho.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, alleges that Ace Black Ranches illegally discharged fill material to the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands, significantly threatening fisheries, neighboring properties and downstream communities. The illegal activities include mining and processing gravel extracted from the river and using heavy equipment to clear and level dozens of acres of wetlands – all without permits required by the Clean Water Act.
“The complaint in this case alleges that Ace Black1 Ranches treated the Bruneau River and state-owned wetlands along the river as private property that could be damaged or destroyed for sand and gravel mining, without any effort to comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act that protects our Nation’s waters from such abuses,” said Assistant Administrator David M. Uhlmann for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will hold companies accountable when they seek to profit from conducting illegal activities in American rivers and streams, destroying adjacent wetlands that protect those waters from pollution, and threatening fisheries, neighboring properties, and downstream communities.”
“Wetlands play critical roles in our ecosystems and serve as buffers to climate change,” said Casey Sixkiller, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle. “Enforcement actions like this are clear reminders that EPA and its federal and state partners will enforce the law to protect increasingly valuable and fragile water resources that we all hold in common and rely upon.”
During inspections of the property, review of historical aerial imagery and through other available information, representatives from EPA observed and documented sand and gravel mining, processing and hauling equipment located on the site; heavy machinery tracks and evidence of mechanical scraping, pushing or pulling, in and next to the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands; and large piles of sand and gravel near the Bruneau River, along its banks and in adjacent wetlands. EPA representatives also collected evidence of wetland clearing, grading and filling to install and operate center-pivot irrigation systems at the property, construction of roads in the Bruneau River and adjacent wetlands, and placing fill material in the river and along its banks.
The complaint alleges that all these activities were unauthorized and caused significant damage to fish and wildlife habitat in and adjacent to the Bruneau River, including at land owned by the state of Idaho within the C.J. Strike Wildlife Management Area, which provides hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.
EPA first learned of the alleged violations via a complaint from a member of the public to the state of Idaho regarding roads built across the Bruneau River.
The Bruneau River and its adjacent wetlands are considered "waters of the United States" and are subject to protection under the Clean Water Act. Activities that discharge pollutants to rivers and the adjacent wetlands require Clean Water Act permits.
ECHA Checked over 20% of REACH Registration Dossiers for Compliance
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), between 2009 and 2023, has performed compliance checks of approximately 15,000 registrations, representing 21% of full registrations.  The Agency has met its legal target for dossier evaluation, which was increased from 5% to 20% in 2019. While, for substances registered at quantities of 100 tons or more per year, ECHA has checked compliance for around 30% of them. 
In 2023, the Agency conducted 301 compliance checks, covering more than 1,750 registrations and addressing 274 individual substances. These checks focused on registration dossiers that may have data gaps and aim to enhance the safety data of these substances. As a result, 251 adopted decisions were sent to companies, requesting additional data to clarify long-term effects of chemicals on human health or the environment.
ECHA will now put more focus on following up the requests sent to companies. In the follow-up evaluation process, the Agency assesses the incoming information for compliance. The outcome of the incoming data is shared with the Member States and European Commission to enable prioritization of substances. ECHA will work closer together with the Member States for enforcement of non-compliant dossiers. 
Compliance of registration dossiers will remain a priority for ECHA for the coming years. This year, the Agency will review the impact of the Joint Evaluation Action Plan, aimed at improving REACH registrations compliance, and, together with stakeholders, develop new priority areas to work on.  ECHA's workshop in March on its Integrated Regulatory Strategy will provide further input to this work. 
Substance evaluation
In 2023, ECHA also adopted six substance evaluation decisions prepared by the EU Member States, requesting further information to assess the safety of substances of potential concern. 
Joint Evaluation Action Plan
In 2019, ECHA and the European Commission decided on a joint plan to improve compliance of REACH registrations. The activities of the plan have now been completed. The next steps to further improve compliance of chemicals safety data are being discussed with the Commission, Member States and industry.
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