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North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 1:25 pm

Hydrofarm to pay EPA $316,000 over sulfur, peroxide products

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    PETALUMA — Hydrofarm Inc. agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a $316,000 settlement and to stop selling two unregistered pesticides, the agency announced this morning.

    As part of the settlement, Petaluma-based Hydrofarm, one of the nation’s biggest distributors of agricultural and hydroponic supplies, has agreed to the financial payment and has stopped selling the two products in question, according to the EPA.

    “This action is part of EPA’s effort to protect agricultural employees and consumers from pesticide products that are not approved by the federal government,” Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, said in a statement. “It is critical that companies selling pesticides provide users with the information they need to safeguard their health and the environment.”

    According to the EPA, Hydrofarm sold sulfur to control mildew through vaporization in greenhouses without any instructions or precautionary language to minimize risks to individuals from exposure to the product.  The agency said it has not yet evaluated the human health risks associated with the use of vaporized sulfur in greenhouses.

    The EPA said Hydrofarm also sold “Nutralife Plant Products H2O2,” a 29 percent hydrogen peroxide product used to sanitize and disinfect hydroponic equipment and growing areas, without adequate directions for use and safety precautions.

    Hydrofarm was targeted based on a tip resulting from a California Department of Pesticide Regulation inspection at a separate hydroponic store, according to the EPA, which conducted the inspection at Hydrofarm.

    The two unregistered pesticides sold by Hydrofarm is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which the EPA said aims to ensure “the safe and appropriate distribution, handling and application of pesticides.”

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