Daily News Archive
November 21, 2006
Misting Device Taken Off the Market in New York
(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2006) Attorney General
Eliot Spitzer and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner
Denise M. Sheehan today announced an agreement that removes a potentially
dangerous pesticide misting device from the market in New York.
The state alleges that BuzzOff Mosquito, LLC, a Louisiana-based company
and its authorized dealer in Saratoga Springs, BuzzOff Mosquito Control
of Eastern New York, unlawfully marketed a pesticide and an accompanying
misting system as "safe" and "non-toxic."
Under the agreement, both companies will stop marketing the pesticide
and the misting system in New York and will offer full refunds to consumers
who purchased the products from them. The companies have also agreed
to a $25,000 penalty.
Attorney General Spitzer said: "Pesticides are toxic chemicals
that should not be blindly released into the air by automatic misting
systems. We need to work to reduce the public’s exposure to pesticides,
and this agreement will help accomplish that important goal."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan
said: "Pesticide use is highly regulated by the state to ensure
that our natural environment and our communities are protected. DEC
will continue to investigate and enforce against companies, like BuzzOff,
that do not abide by New York’s stringent laws."
BuzzOff misting systems are designed to automatically spray a pesticide
solution at timed intervals from a series of nozzles connected by nylon
tubing to a reservoir and pump. The misters are typically installed
along the eaves of a house, perimeter fencing, and around landscaped
The pesticide used in the BuzzOff system is Hydro-Py 300, a pyrethrin-based
pesticide. Among the less toxic insecticides available on the market
today, it must still be registered with state and federal authorities.
Experts have expressed doubts about the safety of these machines. Automatic
pesticide misting systems can be dangerous to public health and the
environment because they can spray pesticides directly onto nearby people
and animals. In addition, the mist can coat the surfaces of outdoor
furniture and children’s toys. In a January 2005 Associated
Press article, Joseph Conlon, the technical adviser for the American
Mosquito Control Association, stated, "Would I install one in my
back yard? No." He further explained, "Our main issue with
misting is that there is no surveillance driving it that says that you
should be spraying." (Article excerpts can be seen at http://www2a.cdc.gov/phlp/dailynews/default.asp?specific=293)
In 2004 and 2005,
the companies sold and installed about a dozen misting systems in New
York, primarily in Saratoga County. BuzzOff New York charged its customers
from $2,000 to $20,000 for such systems.
In March 2006, the manufacturer of the pesticide sold by BuzzOff Mosquito
changed its product label to specifically prohibit the use of the pesticide
in automatic misting systems in New York. Despite the change, BuzzOff
Mosquito continued to market the pesticide and automatic misting system
in New York.
New York law prohibits businesses from making false or misleading claims,
such as advertising claims describing the pesticides they sell as being
"safe." In addition, it is against both state and federal
law to use a pesticide in violation of its label directions. Although
homeowners can currently purchase similar misting systems from other
companies, consumers should know that there is currently no pesticide
registered in New York that can lawfully be used in such systems.
The Attorney General’s Office will also inform the federal Environmental
Protection Agency of this settlement and urge the federal government
to consider prohibiting the use of pesticides in residential automatic
In addition to marketing misting systems with misleading claims, BuzzOff
also markets clothing
impregnated with the pesticide permethrin to children and adults
without any health warnings or pesticide labels in the clothing.
For past Beyond
Pesticides Daily News stories on the EPA’s AZM decisions, click
here and here.
For the EPA’s
full announcement, click here.