Daily News Archive

Pesticide Company Sued for Misuse of Atrazine
(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2004)
A pesticide company was recently fined nearly $200,000 by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for hundreds of violations over a two-year period, according to the Courier Journal.

NaturChem North was cited for violation of state laws governing the use of the hazardous pesticide atrazine and for allowing untrained workers to spray the poison. Ken Franks, who is branch manager for the Division of Environmental Services in the Department of Agriculture stated that atrazine can easily sink through the ground and contaminate groundwater, and thereby needs strict regulations.

"It does get into the groundwater, so the only labeled use for atrazine in Kentucky is on corn," Franks said. However, NaturChem was found to be spraying the highly toxic chemical on rights-of-way, or on land near gas and power lines.
According to Franks, the fine against NaturChem is the steepest penalty levied by the department's regulators in at least five years and is believed to be the highest ever.

NaturChem agreed to pay 10 percent of the $194,200 penalty and serve a two-year probation, as reported by the Courier Journal. Agriculture department attorney Nicole T.W. Liberto said the company would have to pay the entire fine immediately if it commits any further violations during that time.

The violations occurred in 2001 and 2002. The company has since come into compliance and begun to pay the fine, according to the Courier Journal.

Atrazine is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. despite its links to cancer, birth defect, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, groundwater contamination and other health and environmental problems.

TAKE ACTION: Demand that EPA provide adequate regulations on atrazine. Use the information from Beyond Pesticides' atrazine fact sheet and Lawns and Landscapes Program Page in your argument. You can reach EPA Administrator Mr. Michael Leavitt, by email: [email protected], phone: 202-564-4711, or fax: 202-501-1470.