Dayton-based DEM Technology and its vice president pleaded guilty this week in federal court to the illegal sale of antimicrobial products, according to a joint announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency.
“The defendants in this case made claims about the efficacy of their product with no supporting data, putting their customers at risk,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Despite this danger and repeated notices by EPA, the defendants continued their unlawful conduct for years. (Wednesday’s) guilty pleas shows that the Department of Justice will not tolerate such violations of federal law.”
Court documents indicated that it began selling its SaniGuard surface disinfectant spray in 1996 following its EPA registration, but that that DEM also sold it as a “total release fogger.”
In marketing materials the company said the fogger product can release the can’s entire contents to disinfect all surfaces in the room. It also claimed the fogger could “sanitize a room within 10 to 15 minutes,” is “effective against H1N1, E-Coli, staphylococcus, MRSA and Salmonella,” and has a “99.99% kill rate of fungus, bacteria … and viruses,” according to court documents.
“DEM has never established efficacy nor safety data associated with SaniGuard’s use as a fogger as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act,” the release stated.
DEM Technology received and acknowledged repeated correspondence from 2004 to 2015 from the EPA asking them to remove language relating to fogging from the SaniGuard label, and DEM was ordered in July 2015 to pay a civil penalty based on the sale of the fogger product but continued to sell it through 2018, according to the DOJ.
“In order to safeguard the environment, it is essential that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide programs receive accurate and honest information from pesticide registrants and their employees,” stated Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Lynn of the EPA-CID. “This guilty plea sends a clear message that EPA and its law enforcement partners will continue to hold individuals and companies fully accountable for illegal conduct that jeopardizes the environment.”