Pest control firm faces DEP fines in NJ for misapplying hazardous pesticides; owner also indicted in Massachusetts

by nobugsonme on February 1, 2011 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, EPA

Remember TVF Pest Control, the pest control firm that allegedly used pesticides not approved for indoor use to treat bed bugs in New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts?

They’ve now been fined in New Jersey for using Malathion and Carbaryl (both illegal for indoor use). The DEP investigation also found the firm falsified documents so there would be no record of their use.

The Jersey Journal reports that:

A Newark pest control company was fined $860,000 today by the state Department of Environmental Protection for misapplication of hazardous pesticides in dozens of homes — some in Hudson County — to control bed bugs, Commissioner Bob Martin said.

The DEP is also seeking to permanently revoke the TVF Pest Control’s pesticide business license and the revocation of individual licenses for the company’s pesticide applicator Javier Godoy and company owner Josimar Ferreira, the DEP said in a news release.

The pesticides were ordered to be removed by the same firm. Forty of the fifty homes treated in New Jersey have now been cleaned up by TVF. The Jersey Journal also alerts consumers who may still need to come forward:

The public is advised to contact local or state health officials or the DEP if TVF has applied a liquid spray to control bed bugs in your residence prior to July 2010, and no one has contacted you about proper cleaning. If you have questions, call the DEP at (609) 984-6513, or Spanish-speaking people should call (609) 984-6914.

As you’ll recall, TVF owner
Ferreira was arrested in Massachusetts in June, 2010, and charged with applying Malathion and carbaryl, and running a pesticide application business without certification in that state. The Winchester (Massachusetts) Star reports that on January 20th, in Massachusetts,

Josimar Ferreira, 36, was indicted on 16 counts of violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by knowingly applying in residences a pesticide approved only for outdoor use, and with one count of making a false statement to EPA agents.

The Winchester Star also gives more details on the indictment:

According to the indictment, Ferreira ran an extermination company in Everett called TVF Pest Control, Inc. The company was in the business of applying pesticide in homes and business throughout the Boston area. It is alleged that, at any given time in the last three years, the company had a staff of three to five individuals who were hired and paid by Ferreira. Although Massachusetts law required the company to have at least one licensed contractor on staff, Ferreira and at least seven company employees allegedly failed the state licensing exam, and consequently the company operated without a licensed applicator.

In addition to applying pesticides banned for indoor use, Ferreira is (as in New Jersey), alleged to have lied about this to authorities:

According to a criminal complaint filed in June 2010, in one particular instance, Ferreira sprayed malathion on a baby crib. When state inspectors later inquired, he claimed that he used another chemical that was approved for indoor use.

Note: As the Winchester Star states, “the details contained in the indictment are allegations.” Ferreira has not yet been found guilty in this case.

Although we heard last July that Ferreira also owns pest control firms in New York, we do not know whether these pesticides were also applied in New York, as in New Jersey and Massachusetts, and if so, what has been done to address this here.

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.

1 BugsInTO February 5, 2011 at 10:50 am

This article doesn’t mention the harm that the improper indoor use of these chemicals could cause, in both the short and long-terms. Without this information, I can imagine readers just going “Ya, sure, but did it WORK??”

2 nobugsonme February 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

You’re right, BugsinTO. Sorry!

I haven’t seen reports on if it worked, but a post on Bedbugger from last July outlined some of the dangers of the products used.

For more detail: 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.

3 exterminator dc February 11, 2011 at 1:19 am

Nice article!!This is an awesome resource.Great information about pest control firms.Thank you so much for putting it together in such a well organized and complete manner.

Nicely done.

4 Exterminator Toronto February 27, 2011 at 2:54 am

I am not surprised that professional pest control companies are bending the rules to fight bed bugs. Heat is the true answer, chemical resistance is always going to be a problem. There is no recovering from 120F… their internal organs and structure are liquified. Good blog post though, keep it coming!

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