Recently, the US–EPA ordered Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. and a few affiliate companies, including Scotts Lawn Service, to stop selling and distributing some products. Although the product labels displayed EPA registration numbers, EPA contends that these numbers were never given to Scotts and registration never granted. These pesticides, commonly used in lawns by home gardeners, are Garden Weed Preventer + Plant Food (62355-4) and SLS Fertilizer With .28 Halts (538-304). Other product names include Miracle-Gro Shake ’n Feed All Purpose Plant Food Plus Weed Preventer, Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer with .28% Halts, Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 0-0-7 Plus .28% Halts Pro, Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 14-2-5 Plus .28% Halts Pro and Scotts Lawn Service Fertilizer 22-0-8 Plus .28% Halts Pro. The key is to check for the presence of the registration number.
Then EPA issued stop-sale, -use, or removal orders on two additional products, Scotts Bonus S Max Southern Weed & Feed And Fire Ant Killer (538-301), and Scotts Turf Builder Max Plus 2 Weed & Feed And Crabgrass Preventer (538-299). Reasons cited for these latter products are that they are misbranded, with false or misleading claims, and one product lacks safety instructions. Again, due to extensive marketing, these may be available under different names. One must check for the above mentioned registration numbers.
The cause of all of this has not been released, if it has even been determined. Scotts is certainly not new to the registration process. EPA is, of course, erring on the side of caution. It is EPA’s duty to ensure that public health and the environment are protected from the unknowns of unregistered pesticides. The registration process guarantees this safety, and during such the manufacturer must make certain to EPA that the pesticide meets the claims made on its label. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, all pesticides must be submitted to EPA for review, evaluation, and registration to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. This federal law requires that accurate product information be stated on pesticide labels. It also prohibits the distribution or sale of unregistered pesticide products.
Currently, EPA is conducting laboratory analyses on the products to determine what exactly they are—if indeed they are not what they say they are. EPA has the responsibility of preventing false, misleading, or unverifiable product claims. Currently, if there are risks associated with the use of these products, they are unknown.
If you have purchased these products with the above mentioned registration numbers, EPA recommends you do not use them. Instead, store them in a cool, dry place such as a garage or utility shed and contact Scotts or your retail outlet. Scotts has recalled the products from retail locations and is setting up processes for consumers to return affected products. Currently, they ask that you do not dispose of these products. More information is still needed as to the proper disposal procedure.
Keep in mind that Scotts also sells many other fertilizers and fertilizers that do not contain a pesticide or do not need to be registered. Therefore, no registration number will be present on the label.
For further information and updates, check out http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/news/ and http://thescottsmiraclegrocompany.com/mediacenter/recall.html (Michelle Wiesbrook. Source: EPA press releases and Web site, http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/ptb/news/.)