HONOLULU (Legal Newsline) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced May 25 that Wonder Farm Inc. has agreed to settle allegations of misusing pesticides and violating worker safety regulations at its basil farm in Waianae, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu, by paying a $26,700 penalty.
According to allegations, the company failed to properly comply with EPA’s Worker Protection Standard, which was put in place to reduce the risk to agricultural workers from of pesticide poisoning. The purported violations were discovered by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) during inspections between 2012 and 2015. HDOA referred the matter to EPA.
“Reducing pesticide exposure is a high priority for EPA. With our state partners, we’re focused on protecting agricultural workers,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, which includes Hawaii. “All agriculture companies must follow pesticide label instructions and ensure their workers are trained properly to use, apply and work in treated areas.”
The company specifically failed to provide workers with proper safety information, ensure pesticide safety training for workers, post pesticide safety information on the property and ensure pesticide handlers used the proper protective clothing.