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Project on Government Oversight




EPA Finally Does the Right Thing: Public Safety Prevails Over Industry's Interests

February 24, 1998 


After more than a decade of fires and explosions caused by Insecticide Foggers, also known as "bug bombs," and despite threats of legal action from the aerosol industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally required improvement to warning labels.

The new labels will warn the public of the potential fire or explosion hazards posed by these products. The change in EPA policy comes after pressure from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). POGO cited internal EPA documents substantiating the EPA's subservience to the aerosol industry in its 1994 report, Aerosols Give Business and Public Big Boom: Where is the Protection in the EPA? POGO's research detailed how EPA officials had confirmed over 500 fires or explosions per year in the U. S. that could have been prevented through tougher labeling standards.

Danielle Brian, Executive Director at POGO, stated: "Finally, the EPA has stood up to the aerosol industry and is going to require an obvious, common sense approach to bug bomb labeling. Clearly, the big winner is public safety. The new labeling is a practical solution to a very serious problem.

The directives for the new warning labels caution against use of bug bombs near ignition sources (i.e., pilot lights and spark producing appliances, such as refrigerators and thermostats), limit the number of foggers used within a household, insure for proper ventilation, and caution against contact with children. The graphic used with the new labeling is the symbol depicting "fire."

The EPA stated, ". . . the additional flammability label warnings required by this rule will reduce the potential for fire and explosions by alerting consumers of the dangers of [bug bombs]. . . . [these] changes will significantly reduce accidents resulting from product misuse."  

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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