Settles Charges of Safety Violations for Millions of Dollars
(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2003) The nation's largest pesticide applicator, Memphis, Tennessee-based Terminix International Co., LP, agreed to pay $759,000 in September to settle charges that the company violated New York State environmental and consumer protection laws. Since 1992, Terminix has settled charges of safety and environmental violations totaling millions of dollars in Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Terminix is owned by the ServiceMaster Company.
According to a press release from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who filed suit against Terminix, " A state investigation last year of Terminix's implementation of its "Sentricon System," a termite control product, found that many Terminix customers did not receive all of the product monitoring required in customer contracts." The investigation leading to this latest settlement followed a 1999 investigation that found Terminix did not follow label instructions when applying liquid pesticides, and two of the company's employees pled guilty to crimes of falsification of business records and participation in a scheme to defraud.
In 1992, Terminix paid the New York $50,000 to resolve allegations concerning the application of pesticides by a non-certified applicator, failing to warn homeowners of possible pesticide dangers, and failing to maintain proper records and to register several business offices. In June, 2002, Terminix entered into a $1 million settlement with the state of Connecticut on charges that the company failed to supervise employees applying pesticides, interfering with state inspections, falsifying records and pressuring employees to lie to investigations. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called the environmental law violations "frequent" and "flagrant." Mr. Blumental said, "The company's shoddy work and sloppy, haphazard use of hazardous chemicals put citizens at risk and endangered the environment." A Terminix spokesman told the Associated Press that the company admitted no guilt.