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EPA Warns Online Shoppers about Illegal, Harmful Pesticide Sales

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has warned more than 2,800 customers across the United States about risks associated with a banned pesticide in an ant-control product they purchased online through fastpestcontrol.com. The product, Fast Ant Bait, contained mirex, a pesticide that was banned in 1978 because it can cause liver, skin, reproductive and nerve damage.

"Illegal pesticides are often much more toxic than approved pesticides," said Steve Owens, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.  "When EPA takes a pesticide off the market, it means that pesticide was not safe. Consumers should use only EPA-registered pesticides and always follow the label directions to ensure their safety."

EPA became aware of the product after the Washington State Department of Health reported that a woman became ill after using it in her home. In response, EPA identified and warned three online companies, 2Checkout.com Inc., CCNow, Inc. and eBay Inc. to cease processing orders for the product that was produced and mailed from China. The three companies cooperated, immediately ceased processing orders and consumers can no longer purchase products from fastpestcontrol.com, the original site that offered the product for sale.  The companies also worked with EPA to provide sales information, which allowed the agency to contact customers directly about the dangers posed by the pesticide and proper disposal methods.

The letter EPA sent to customers who bought the product provides detailed directions on how to safely clean up and dispose of the illegal product and what to do if they believe they were exposed or harmed. For more information on mirex or other pesticides, consumers can call the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Information Center at 1-888-422-8737 or the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at 1-800-858-7378.

To view a copy of the letter: http://www.epa.gov/region10/pdf/publications/notice_to_fastpestcontrol_customers_02_09_2011.pdf

Information on using pesticides safely:  http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/safely.htm

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