An $860,000 penalty was imposed today by the Department of Environmental Protection on TVF Pest Control of Newark for misapplication of hazardous pesticides in residences to control bedbugs, Commissioner Bob Martin announced.
The DEP is 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. The DEP also has charged TVF $10,625 for the cost of DEP chemical sampling in this matter, 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 Commissioner 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.
An investigation by the DEP in 2010 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 in spraying for bedbugs.
That investigation found that Malathion and Carbaryl were sprayed inside homes and apartments. In addition, TVF falsified documents to omit a record of their use of these pesticides for bedbug control.
"We want pest control companies and individuals to address the bedbug problem in a safe, responsible manner,'' said Commissioner Martin. "They should use only registered pesticides and employing smart, approved housekeeping practices and non-pesticide techniques to control the troubling insects.''
Neither Malathion nor Carbaryl are approved for indoor use. Symptoms of exposure to these pesticides, which are readily absorbed through the skin, can include headaches, nausea and dizziness, muscle twitching and vomiting.
State residents have the right to obtain notification information from companies to identify chemicals used to control pests in their residences, said Wolf Skacel, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Compliance and Enforcement.
"The DEP urges residents to arm themselves with information about pesticides used in their homes,'' said Skacel. "Also, we are cautioning that pesticides can only be used in strict accordance with the product label. Persistent bedbug problems sometimes prompt companies or desperate residents to use substances that can create hazardous situations, leading to potential health problems that are far more serious than bedbug bites."
For assistance is choosing an indoor pesticide, check with the New Jersey Cooperative Extension Service office in your county at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/county. Information on licensed pest control professionals in New Jersey is available at http://www.nj.gov/dep/enforcement/pcp/bpo-busappl.htm.
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. It was learned that residences particularly in Newark, and also Elizabeth, Jersey City, Harrison, Kearny, Perth Amboy and Linden, South River and Avenel were improperly treated by TVF.
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 (609) 984-6513, or Spanish-speaking persons should call (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.
To learn more about bedbugs and how to combat them, visit:
Also, the federal Centers for Disease Control officer information at: