This picture shows the damage from Imprelis on a honeylocust tree. Source: Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University
This picture shows the damage from Imprelis on a honeylocust tree. Source: Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University

$1.8 Million Penalty Paid by DuPont for Tree Killer PesticideWASHINGTON – E.I. du Pont de Nemours has agreed to a penalty of more than $1.8 million to settle allegations that it failed to disclose its Imprelis weed-killing herbicide could also kill trees.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the $1,853,000 settlement Sept. 15. DuPont was charged with alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for its failure to submit 18 reports to EPA about the potential "adverse effects" of its Imprelis herbicide and "sold it with labeling that did not ensure its safe use."

$1.8 Million Penalty Paid by DuPont for Tree Killer PesticideEPA said DuPont submitted over 7,000 reports "of damage or death of trees – primarily Norway spruce and white pine – related to the application of Imprelis. Test data from DuPont confirmed certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce and balsam fir, as susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis. There is also evidence that non-coniferous trees such as maple, honey locusts, lilacs, sycamores, and alders are susceptible to damage from Imprelis."

According to the EPA statement, most of the damage and tree deaths were in the Midwest, particularly Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin; Indiana, for example, investigated more than 400 cases of tree damage related to Imprelis in 2011.

Imprelis was approved for use between Aug. 31, 2010 and Aug. 21, 2011, in all states except California and New York. A class action suit against DuPont was settled on June 16, with compensation being provided to: property owners, lawn care professionals, and golf course and other self-applicators. DuPont marketed Imprelis as a weed killer for residential and commercial lawns, including golf courses, sod farms, schools, parks, and athletic fields.

"EPA's ability to protect the public from dangerous pesticides depends on companies complying with the legal obligation to disclose information on the harmful effects of chemicals," said Cynthia Giles, EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This case sends the message that illegally withholding required information will be treated as a very serious violation."

EPA said the settlement, a consent agreement and final order, will be filed at its regional office in Philadelphia, and DuPont must submit payment of the penalty to the U.S. Department of Treasury within 30 days.

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