Milwaukee-based pesticide manufacturer Liphatech, Inc., will have to pay a $738,000 fine for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

The main reason for imposing the largest-ever civil penalty for FIFRA violations was the fact that the company wrongfully advertised its product Rozol Prairie Dog Bait (Rozol PD) without explicitly stating that it was a "restricted use" product and misled consumers by making unapproved claims about the pesticide, the agency explained.

Between 2007 and 2008 there were more than 2,100 violations of FIFRA by Liphatech, including advertising the highly toxic product Rozol PD on radio and in print advertisements without stating that the product was for restricted use. The company was also found liable for marketing claims that were not approved by the EPA for its label, overstating the safety and efficacy of Rozol PD.

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, commented that restricted use pesticides should be used under tight control and handled safely because they can be very harmful to the environment, to wildlife and to public health. The company's failure to ensure that was a serious violation of the law and that is why the penalty is the highest imposed by an administrative law judge for FIFRA violations, she added.