AZDA regulates the use of ALL pesticides.
By: Jim Steelman, Phoenix ESD
Have you ever wondered who regulates the use of non-agriculture pesticides in Arizona? Laws and regulations regarding the production, registration, sales, recommendation and use of any pesticide in our state, falls under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Services Division of the Arizona Department of Agriculture. We are sharing with you the investigation of a case regarding the misuse of a non-ag pesticide to raise awareness of the importance of always reading the label before any pesticide is used.
In December of last year, ESD Inspectors responded to a call of a report of a pet poisoned by the complainant’s neighbor. The complainant said she found several buckets of rat poison on her neighbor’s property and was positive that her pet must have consumed some of the poison in late November.
ESD Inspectors went to the residence where the alleged misuse occurred and spoke to the complainant.
She showed inspectors the property and said it rained a lot recently and the rain must have washed one of the buckets near her property line. The first bucket was found near the south east corner of her property. She then told inspectors four other buckets were located on her neighbor’s property.
Inspectors spoke to the property owner who is the respondent in this case, about the use of this product. He said did not use the rat poison but may have information on who could have used it.
During the investigation, inspectors spoke to the respondent’s brother who said he placed one rat poison bucket in late January 2019.
Inspectors asked him about the other buckets found on his property and said those are from prior years. He told inspectors he places one bucket out each year before leaving for the summer months.
Inspectors reviewed the product label and saw it requires the use of tamper proof rodent bait stations for safety reasons. During the interview of the respondent’s brother, he told inspectors he uses the rat bait bucket because it appears to be sturdier. He said he just cuts holes in the rat bucket and places it securely near his fifth wheel trailer. Inspectors informed both the respondent and his brother that deviating from label instructions is a violation of Arizona and federal laws and that the case would be referred to the Office of the Associate Director for ESD for review and disposition. The respondent’s brother told inspectors he would follow the label in the future.
In consultation with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the ESD Associate Director found the respondent responsible for this violation and imposed a $400.00 administrative fine. In this case the respondent was also sued by the complainant in small claims court.
Note from Associate Director Jack Peterson:
“To go beyond the facts of this case, mouse and rat baits have been under a great deal of scrutiny with the EPA due to secondary poisonings. The EPA, as a way to curb their use by homeowners, such as in this situation, required they only be sold in 8 pound or larger containers. The purpose of the large size container was that only Pest Control Professionals and agriculture operators would purchase them. They would be the only ones with the need for this much material. However, as you can see in this case the guy put this out every spring when he left AZ and went back home. He weighted it down with bricks. He bought it at a big box store. Unfortunately this product did get misused by someone that the solution was intended to keep from using it. Unfortunately the process failed. So please use these products with caution and keep spreading the word to always read and follow label directions.”