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星期四, 5月 19, 2016

OWNER OF HUDSON PEST CONTROL BUSINESS BARRED FROM OPERATING IN MASSACHUSETTS, ORDERED TO PAY $50,000 OVER PESTICIDE MISUSE

OWNER OF HUDSON PEST CONTROL BUSINESS BARRED FROM OPERATING IN MASSACHUSETTS, ORDERED TO PAY $50,000 OVER PESTICIDE MISUSE

BOSTON — A Hudson pest control business owner will pay up to $50,000 and is prohibited from operating in Massachusetts for at least two years to settle allegations that he was operating without a license and misleading consumers about the safety and effectiveness of his services, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

“Pesticides are toxic by design and it is crucial that those who apply them meet the state’s rigorous licensing and certification requirements before doing so,” AG Healey said. “Our office will continue to take action to protect the public from the misuse of pesticides to avoid or reduce harmful human and environmental exposure to chemical pesticides.”

According to the complaint, entered Wednesday along with along with the consent judgment in Suffolk Superior Court, the AG’s Office alleges that Patrick F. McNeil, who operated under the names Community Pest Control and Countryside Wildlife, violated the state’s pesticide control and consumer protection laws by applying pesticides he was not authorized to use, in an attempt to control bedbugs and termites. 

After McNeil’s license was revoked by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) in 2013, McNeil allegedly portrayed himself as a licensed pest control operator in the state and contracted with residents in Lakeville, Waltham and Worcester at various times in 2013 and 2014 to provide pest control services, including termite, carpenter ant, and bed bug treatments.

“Our Pesticide Enforcement Division protects public health and the environment by enforcing pesticide laws and regulations throughout the Commonwealth,” said Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Pesticide Enforcement staff and MDAR Legal Counsel worked closely with the Office of the Attorney General to pursue the multiple alleged violations and prevent future unlicensed pesticide applications by Mr. McNeil.”

The AG’s Office also alleges that McNeil knowingly misled homeowners in Marlborough, Waltham, Lakeville, and Stow by failing to provide them with information he was obligated to give them about the safety and effectiveness of the pesticides he used in their homes. He also allegedly charged customers for pest control work he did not complete.

According to the terms of the consent judgement, McNeil’s pesticide license revocation will remain in effect for two years. The $50,000 civil penalty may be waived if McNeil fully complies with the terms of the consent judgment for 10 years, including strictly complying with the state’s pest control and consumer protection laws and regulations if his license is reinstated. 

Massachusetts law requires anyone who commercially applies pesticides to be licensed by MDAR. Due to the possible environmental and public health hazards associated with pesticide use, MDAR and other stakeholders promote environmentally sound, viable methods of pest management, called “Integrated Pest Management,” that include closely monitoring the need for pest control, improving sanitation, installing physical barriers, using natural pest enemies, and, when appropriate, using the lowest risk pesticides capable of addressing the need.

Consumers should communicate with their pest control company about their expectations and concerns. A good pest control company will work with consumers to ensure that their needs are met, including ensuring that the company uses the least intrusive means possible in treating the pest problem.

Any consumer with questions about an applicator’s license should call the Massachusetts Pesticide Enforcement Division at 617-626-1781. Consumers who suspect that a pest control company is misusing pesticides should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division Hotline at 617-727-8400.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Goldberg, of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division, handled the case, with assistance from MDAR legal counsel Jessica Burgess and Division of Crop and Pest Services Director Taryn LaScola.