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Qantas Airways to pay $100K fine for shipments of unregistered disinfectants to Honolulu and L.A.

Nina Wu

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today said Qantas has agreed to pay a $100,000 civil penalty as part of a settlement for illegally importing unregistered products to Honolulu and Los Angeles.

The Australia-based airline violated a federal pesticide law with multiple shipments of an unregistered product intended to disinfect drinking water to the United States, the EPA said. The airline also failed to notify EPA of a shipment of a cleaning disinfectant.

“Unregistered imported pesticides can be harmful to public health and the environment,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud in a news release. “EPA and U.S. Custom and Border Protection work closely to ensure imports comply with environmental regulations.”

The product — Elsil Drinking Water Purifier by Elsan Ltd. — was not registered as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which prohibits the distribution or sale of unregistered pesticides.

Under FIFRA, disinfectant products that claim to kill or repel viruses, bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale.

If a product is not EPA-registered, neither its public health claims or potential effects on human health and environment have been evaluated. Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.

The EPA said Elsan also failed to file required documents stating that it was importing pesticides into the U.S. for all of its shipments of Elsil Drinking Water Purifier and one shipment of Calla 1452 Neutral Disinfectant Cleaner.

A list of EPA-registered disinfectant products is available online.

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