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EPA Cites, Fines Vector Tobacco for Pesticide Misuse and Safety Issues

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Vector Tobacco Inc. $65,040 for allegedly misusing six pesticides and failing to comply with federal pesticide worker safety laws, the EPA announced today.

Vector Tobacco, a subsidiary of Vector Tobacco Group of Durham, NC, allegedly misused six pesticides during their application at its agricultural research facility in Kekaha, Kauai, in 2005 and 2006.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during inspections performed in March and June of 2006.

Worker complaints triggered the initial investigation. Since the inspections, Vector Tobacco has shut down the Kekaha facility.

The EPA said that on 93 occasions, Vector Tobacco failed to follow label directions intended to protect workers from exposure to pesticides, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

Vector Tobacco also failed to provide its workers and pesticide handlers with required protective equipment, pesticide information, decontamination supplies, safety training, and notification that pesticides had been applied, the EPA said.

Pesticide Misuse in Tobacco IndustryThe tobacco company reportedly failed to prevent workers from entering areas where pesticides had recently been applied, and subsequently denied them prompt transportation to a medical facility after these workers reported averse health effects due to the pesticide exposure.

Source: The Honolulu Advertise