HONOLULU (Legal Newsline) — The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a complaint Dec. 15 against
Syngenta Seeds LLC for allegations of violating federal pesticide regulations.
The Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act’s Worker Protection Standard was put into place
to protect agricultural workers. According to the EPA, Syngenta violated this
standard at its crop research farm in Kekaha, Kauai, by misusing the pesticide “Lorsban Advanced.”
The company allegedly
used the restricted-used pesticide, which is not available to the general
public because of its high toxicity, on one of its fields. The EPA argues that
Syngenta failed to notify its workers to avoid that field; the failure resulted
in 10 workers being sent to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
“Reducing pesticide exposure
is a high priority, as it directly affects the health of farm workers,” said
Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest.
“EPA is committed to enforcing the federal law that protects those who spend
long hours in the fields. We appreciate working with the Hawaii Department of
Agriculture to respond to this serious incident.”
The EPA seeks civil penalties
of more than $4.8 million to resolve the violation allegations.