Boston.com reports that a Massachusetts man has been charged with using agricultural pesticides malathion and carbaryl (which are banned for use indoors) to treat bed bugs in Quincy, Somerville, Malden, and Everett, Massachusetts, and is also charged with running a pesticide application business without certification.
Josimar Ferreira owned TVF Pest Control, on Main Street in Everett, and was arrested yesterday by federal authorities, according to Boston.com:
Several hours after his arrest, Josimar Ferreira was arraigned by US Magistrate Jennifer C. Boal on charges that he violated federal law by using malathion and carbaryl, agricultural pesticides banned for indoor use, in jobs to eradicate beg bugs (sic) in Quincy, Somerville, Malden, and Everett.
In one case, according to an affidavit filed in Federal Court in South Boston, Ferreira sprayed several units inside a red-brick apartment complex at 41 Mullin Ave. late last year. The tenants were unaware of the scheduled spraying set up by their landlord, and, in at least one case, a resident chose to stay with relatives after complaining that the chemicals sprayed were overpowering.
In fact, not only was Ferreira allegedly unlicensed, but Boston.com says he had repeatedly failed the Massachusetts certification test for pesticide applicators.
I know there’s someone out there asking, “Yes, but did the treatment work?”
No! It did not.
Jasmine Holden, a tenant living at 41 Mullin Ave., where she claims tenants were not even notified in advance of treatment, said:
“He did a terrible job, tore up my apartment spraying, and virtually left it uninhabitable for several days,’’ said Holden, who contacted the state’s Agricultural Department in December to complain about Ferreira’s firm.
“My daughter was crawling on her hands and knees, so she could have gotten very sick from those chemicals,’’ Holden said. “I had to have a cleaning company come in to wipe the place down from top to bottom. And after everything that happened, the bed bugs still existed.’’
Holden said she moved out two weeks ago.
If the landlord hired an unlicensed, uncertified pesticide applicator, and also did not notify tenants in advance of treatment, s/he is also responsible for the mess these tenants were in.
What’s next for Ferreira?
The maximum penalty for violating the EPA regulation is a year in jail, a $25,000 fine, or both, but prosecutors say they will probably not seek jail time for Ferreira. Deportation is also a possibility.
And take note, New York and New Jersey residents: Josimar Ferreira also allegedly owned pest control businesses in those two states.
We recommend using only a licensed, knowledgeable, and experienced pest control firm to treat your home for bed bugs. They have the best chance of doing the job safely and effectively.
For the curious: this is the EPA’s Pesticide Reregistration page for the carbamate pesticide Carbaryl (which represents a wealth of EPA decisions on and analyses of this pesticide). This is the EPA’s FAQ on the organophosphate Malathion, commonly used for mosquito control.