Friday, December 21, 2007

Close the year with a letter to the EPA

Federal agencies are notorious for doing their dirty work over the holidays, when the rest of us are busy warming up the egg nog and putting our feet up by the fire. It looks like 2007 will be no different, as EPA is looking for public comment on a proposal to allow cause-related marketing on pesticide containers - due date: December 31st.

This is not a joke. Imagine browsing the pest control aisle at the big-box home improvement store, and along the aisle you notice bottles of Spectracide with the UNICEF logo on them, bags of Weed & Feed with a symbol that says "10% of this purchase goes to the US Youth Soccer Association!," or bottles of Clorox with the Red Cross logo. Sound fantastical? Confusing? Potentially dangerous? That's exactly what EPA is proposing. You can read all the sordid details on Beyond Pesticides website, and you'll find the EPA's proposed rule on

Seven state Attorneys General have already spoken out against this plan, and EPA is taking public comment over the holidays (think they're expecting many letters?) If you've got a few minutes before the egg nog is ready, consider sending a letter to the EPA about this one.

Here's what Toxic Free NC will be saying in our letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson:
  1. Placement of the Red Cross and other safety or environmental symbols on commercial poisons is inherently misleading and violates federal and state laws and EPA guidelines. The symbols themselves may imply health and environmental benefits that conflict with the product's actual properties and regulatory status.
  2. Extraneous claims and symbols may distract consumers from safe usage label instructions. It is critical that consumers be able to understand and carefully follow label instructions in order to prevent serious harm from pesticide misuse.
  3. The proposal inappropriately involves a regulatory agency - the EPA - in corporate marketing schemes. Cause-related symbols may imply an endorsement of the product by either the EPA or the charity.
  4. We request a 30-day extension of the comment period to allow for adequate public participation in this important regulatory decision.
To send your comments in to the EPA, go to, and remember to reference Docket ID #EPA-HQ-OPP-2007-1008. And enjoy your egg nog!

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