TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection imposed an $860,000 penalty on TVF Pest Control of Newark for misapplication of hazardous pesticides in residences to control bedbugs, Commissioner Bob Martin announced Monday.
The DEP is also seeking permanent revocation of TVF’s pesticide business license and revocation of individual applicator licenses for the company’s responsible pesticide applicator Javier Godoy and company owner Josimar Ferreira, Martin announced. The DEP also has charged TVF $10,625 for the cost of chemical sampling, and levied a $10,000 penalty against TVF corporate officer Marta Braga for an applicator licensing violation.
“This is an issue of public health and welfare,” said Martin. “Bedbug infestation is a growing problem in New Jersey and across the nation. The DEP is sending a strong and clear message in this case that when companies put residents at risk by intentionally misusing pesticides in dealing with bedbugs they will be dealt with severely.”
TVF and its pesticide applicators may continue to operate pending the outcome of an administrative hearing, provided a request for a hearing is filed with DEP within 35 days.
A DEP investigation revealed that TVF Pest Control used chemicals not appropriate for indoor use in at least 50 residences and apartments, mostly in Essex, Hudson and Union counties, between January and June 2010 to spray for bedbugs.
“We want pest control companies and individuals to address the bedbug problem in a safe, responsible manner,” said Martin. “They should use only registered pesticides and employing smart, approved housekeeping practices and non-pesticide techniques to control the troubling insects.”
An investigation of TVF began last June 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. Residences in Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Harrison, Kearny, Perth Amboy Linden, South River and Avenel were improperly treated by TVF according to the DEP..
An administrative order was issued by DEP in July directing TVF to immediately cease all applications using the two chemicals and to clean up affected residences. TVF cleaned up 40 of the 50 residences, said Skacel. The company could not gain entry to 10 of the remaining residences, so DEP advised the owners on recommended cleaning techniques.
The public is advised to contact local or state health officials or the DEP if TVF has applied a liquid spray to control bedbugs in your residence prior to July 2010, and no one has contacted you about proper cleaning. If you have questions, call the DEP at 1-609-984-6513, or Spanish-speaking persons should call 1-609-984-6914.
Eliminating bed bugs can be difficult but not impossible if done properly, according to DEP experts. Hiring a New Jersey licensed pest control professional can increase the likelihood of speeding up success in eliminating bed bugs. The alternative is a do it yourself approach.
Pesticides alone, however, may not solve your bed bug problems. Eradicating the bugs requires an Integrated Pest Management approach that can include a variety of removal methods, including vacuuming, use of intense heat or extreme cold, and monitoring for the presence of bedbugs to prevent invasions. Dogs that are trained to detect bedbugs by sense of smell are becoming a more common tool to determine if bedbugs are present and the extent of an infestation.
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