TRENTON — An investigation by the Department of Environmental Protection has revealed that a Newark-based company, TVF Pest Control, used chemicals not appropriate for indoor use in 70 residences and apartments, mostly in Essex, Hudson and Union counties, since October in spraying for bedbugs and other insects, the Department announced Friday.
The DEP has issued an administrative order requiring TVF to return to those locations and remove residues of the improperly applied pesticides. The public is advised to contact local or state health officials or the DEP if TVF has applied a liquid spray to control insects in your residence or building.
An administrative order has been issued by the DEP directing Josimar Ferreira, owner and operator of TVF, based at 514 Market Street in Newark, and Javier Godoy, who made the pesticide in question, to immediately cease all applications using the two chemicals. It ordered the company to promptly begin a cleanup of all affected residences. That cleanup work has begun.
Sampling will be conducted by an independent contractor or the DEP to ensure proper cleaning.
A DEP investigation has determined residences in Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Harrison, Kearny, Perth Amboy and Linden, South River and Avenel were treated by TVF since October. The DEP is still working to determine if any other buildings or residences were serviced by that company with an improper pesticide mix.
Chemicals used by TVF not appropriate for indoor use are Malathion and Carbaryl. A third substance, Cypermethrin, also was used but can be legitimately applied indoors if done properly. The DEP is examining use of that substance by TVF.
Malathion and Carbaryl are readily absorbed through the skin. Symptoms of exposure range from headaches and nausea and dizziness to muscle twitching and vomiting. If you experience any of those symptoms, you are advised to see a doctor immediately, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services.
Specific cleanup directions have been issued to TVF. Included is a directive that any mattresses or childrens’ toys that have been sprayed with the inappropriate pesticides must be thrown away and not reused. If you have questions, call the DEP at 1-609-984-6568, or Spanish-speaking persons should call 1-609-984-6914; the state Department of Health at 1-609-826-4920; or the N.J. Poison Information and Education System at 1-800-222-1222.
Efforts are being made to visit each of the known affected sites and notify potentially affected residents via English, Spanish and Portuguese language pamphlets. The Ironbound Community Corp. in Newark is assisting with community outreach.
“This company demonstrated a total disregard for public health and safety,” said Wolf Skacel, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement. “It’s important that anyone who used this company get in touch with us or health officials. We want to make sure that a full cleanup takes place.”
An investigation of TVF began in New Jersey last month after the DEP was alerted by Massachusetts officials that the company was the subject of a federal Environmental Protection Agency probe in that state regarding indoor use of pesticides to combat bedbugs.
On June 16, the DEP began to investigate TVF’s operation in New Jersey. Subsequent sampling of a large tank on a company service vehicle and a backpack sprayer showed the presence of Malathion and Carbaryl.
No determination has been made at this point regarding possible fines or penalties that could be imposed on the company. The current goal is to ensure a cleanup of affected premises.
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