The Environmental Projection Agency has fined Marukai Corp. $222,030 for selling cleaning products and pesticides in 2008 that were unregistered and improperly labeled.
The EPA found that Marukai sold 37 different products at its three retail outlets that were not registered with the EPA as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. In addition, two roach trap products were mislabeled and did not have directions for use, the EPA said.
Marukai said it pulled the products from its shelves in 2008 after it received a notice of the violation from the EPA.
"Marukai will implement a stricter screening procedure as well as conduct regular training for all of its managers and buyers related to product registration and labeling requirements," said Roy Ishihara, vice president of operations for Marukai’s Hawaii stores.
"We regret our oversight and we accept the responsibility of the EPA fine. We are working closely with our importers and distributors to ensure any common household cleaners and detergents used in Japan are registered and have the proper labeling requirements," Ishihara said in a prepared statement.
Most of the packaging for the products contained only Japanese characters, an EPA spokesman said. The agency did not have a list of the products, but said it planned to release one at a later date.
The violations were discovered during inspections conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide’s Branch. The $222,030 fine was reached as part of a settlement with the EPA. The fine was less than the maximum $253,500 the EPA could have levied against the company.
As part of the settlement, Marukai agreed to have all its managers, supervisors and purchasing agents complete a basic training course covering the EPA’s pesticides rules and regulations. They are also required to receive refresher training once a year.
"This action is part of EPA’s effort to protect our families from pesticide products that are not approved by the federal government," said Jared Blumenthal, EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest area. "To use them safely in homes, these products must have proper instructions that let buyers know what precautions to take."
Before selling any pesticide in the U.S., even soaps and detergents that claim to kill bacteria, the product must be registered with the EPA.
"These requirements protect public health and the environment by minimizing the risks associated with the production, handling, and application of pesticides," the EPA said in its release.