EPA has assessed the second highest penalty for violating the worker protection provisions of U.S. pesticide laws to an agricultural company based in Puerto Rico. The company, Martex Farms, has been ordered to pay a total penalty of $92,620.
On Jan. 19, 2007, EPA's Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) office found Martex liable for 170 alleged violations of the agency's worker protection standards, and ruled that Martex failed to display specific pesticide application information for its agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, failed to provide them with decontamination materials, and failed to provide handlers with personal protective equipment.
In January 2005, EPA filed a complaint against Martex for improperly using pesticides and endangering worker safety.
Martex Farms grows, processes, packs and ships tropical fruits and plants. The family-owned business was established in 1989, and employs hundreds of people at its numerous facilities in Puerto Rico.