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For Release: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Target Ordered to Pay Fine for Sale of Illegal Pesticides

Pesticide removed from store shelves to safeguard Long Island's drinking water

The Target Corporation agreed to a civil penalty of $43,850 after a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) investigation revealed the company was selling pesticides banned on Long Island. The company was ordered to remove these pesticides from all stores throughout the region in addition to the penalty.

"Long Island's sole source aquifer is especially vulnerable to contamination, and DEC Pesticide Control Specialists take their responsibility to enforce environmental laws very seriously," DEC Region 1 Director Peter A. Scully said. "This investigation is just one example of the important work that DEC staff perform every day to help protect Long Island's environment."

In September, 2011, DEC's Region 1 Bureau of Pest Management received a telephone inquiry from a concerned resident who had been shopping at a local Target Brands retail store. While reading a pesticide label for a rose and flower care product, he noticed the following label statement: "Not for sale, sale into, distribution and or use in Nassau, Suffolk, Kings and Queens counties of New York."

The call sparked an investigation by DEC's Pesticide Control Specialists, who, following an inspection, discovered several units of two banned pesticides at the Target store in Levittown. The pesticides included Bayer Advanced 2-in-1 Systemic Rose and Flower Care and Bayer Advanced Complete Insect Killer. These pesticides have been banned on Long Island, including Kings and Queens counties, to protect the underground aquifer that supplies the region's drinking water.

The unregistered pesticides were quarantined and, with cooperation from the Target Corporation, DEC ordered the removal of all unregistered pesticides from Target stores throughout the region. Documents obtained by DEC revealed that while the products were on the shelves, 1,754 units of the unregistered pesticides were sold.

The Target Corporation was found to be in violation of Environmental Conservation Law which requires the registration every two years of any pesticide which is used, distributed, sold or offered for sale within this state or delivered for transportation or transported in intrastate commerce or between points within this state through any point outside the state. Target Corporation signed an Order on Consent on September 12, 2012 and paid a fine of $43,850.

Any individual who has purchased either of the aforementioned pesticides can contact his or her Town Hall to determine where to safely dispose of the chemicals. For questions regarding refunds, please contact your local Target store for more information.

Although the pesticides sold are considered safe for handling when label instructions are properly followed, these products, along with nearly 400 other pesticides registered in New York, have been banned from use on Long Island to help protect the groundwater aquifer that supplies the region's drinking water. When purchasing any pesticide, read the label carefully to ensure the chemical is appropriate for your region and applied properly. A list of currently registered pesticides in New York state can be found on DEC's website linked on the right column of this page.

Anyone concerned about the sale, use or distribution of pesticides can call DEC Bureau of Pesticides at (631) 444-0340. For general pesticide questions, contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378.

Anyone who observes an environmental crime in progress can anonymously contact DEC's Environmental Conservation Officers at (631) 444-0250 or 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7998).

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