The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with DuPont for alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
DuPont will pay a $1,853,000 penalty to resolve allegations that the company failed to report the potential adverse effects of an herbicide product called Imprelis, and sold it with labeling that did not ensure its safe use. When customers used the misbranded Imprelis product to control weeds, it led to widespread death and damage to trees.
Imprelis was marketed by DuPont for lawn and turf applications on residential and commercial lawns, golf courses, sod farms, schools, parks, and athletic fields.
Cases of tree damage and death from Imprelis were widespread in the Midwest, especially Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. The EPA began receiving complaints from state pesticide agencies in June 2011.
“EPA's ability to protect the public from dangerous pesticides depends on companies complying with the legal obligation to disclose information on the harmful effects of chemicals,” said Cynthia Giles, EPA assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance, in a press release. “This case sends the message that illegally withholding required information will be treated as a very serious violation.”
Companies are required to submit reports to the EPA on a product’s potential adverse impacts on plants or animals that it is not intended to control. DuPont failed to submit 18 reports on Imprelis, an herbicide product intended to control weeds like dandelions, clover, thistle, plantains and ground ivy. As a result, Imprelis did not adequately protect against damage to certain tree species.
DuPont made 320 shipments of Imprelis to distributors in 2010 and 2011.
Since then, DuPont has submitted more than 7,000 reports to the EPA of damage or death to trees – primarily Norway spruce and white pine – related to the application of Imprelis. There is also evidence that non-coniferous trees such as maple, honey locusts, lilacs, sycamores, and alders are susceptible to damage from Imprelis.
In August 2011, the EPA ordered DuPont to stop selling and distributing Imprelis. In September 2011, the registration for Imprelis was amended to prohibit its sale, distribution or marketing. The product registration for Imprelis expired Sept. 8, 2014, and DuPont is no longer selling the product.
The settlement, a consent agreement and final order, will be filed at EPA’s regional office in Philadelphia, and DuPont must submit payment of the penalty to the U.S. Department of Treasury within 30 days.
For more information about this settlement, visit www2.epa.gov/enforcement/ei-du-pont-de-nemours-and-company-settlement.