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Consumers buying banned pesticides online

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A warning issued on March 22 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that U.S. consumers can still purchase harmful home and garden insecticides over the Internet. 

More than 2,800 customers across the United States have purchased an ant control product called “Fast Ant Bait” through fastpestcontrol.com, according to the EPA. The product contains mirex, a pesticide that was banned in 1978 because it can cause liver, skin, reproductive and nerve damage.

The EPA became aware of the product after the Washington State Department of Health reported that a woman became ill after using it in her home. In response, the EPA identified and warned three online companies, 2Checkout.com, CCNow and eBay to cease processing orders for the product that was produced and mailed from China. The three companies cooperated and immediately ceased processing orders. Consumers can no longer purchase products from fastpestcontrol.com, the original site that offered the product for sale.  

The companies also worked with the EPA to provide sales information, which allowed the agency to contact customers directly about the dangers posed by the pesticide and proper disposal methods. 

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Sharp Electronics appoints new marketing exec

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sharp Electronics Corp. has announced that Mark Viken has been named VP marketing. He will report to John Herrington, president, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America.

In this position, Viken will oversee U.S. marketing of all Sharp consumer electronics products, including appliances and health and environment-related products, as well as audio and video categories.

Most recently, Viken served as VP consumer electronics/marketing for MarketSource (Allegis), where he developed customer-centric and vertical strategies, including marketing, branding, services and communications. He also has 20 years of experience as a senior executive with Sony Electronics, where he provided strategic leadership in product and corporate marketing, as well as new business development and integrated product planning. 

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Scotts plans phosphorus phaseout

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. said it will phase out phosphorus from lawn fertilizers, including the market-leading Scotts Turf Builder brand, by the end of 2012.

Additionally, the Marysville, Ohio-based company said it will sharpen its focus on more efficient and optimized ways to use nitrogen in its lawn fertilizer products. 

"We want to provide consumers with the tools they need to create the lawn and garden they want, while also being stewards of the environment," said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. "What better time to announce these initiatives than on World Water Day, and also at the start of another lawn and garden season." 

The company said it has concluded that most lawns in the United States can flourish without supplemental phosphorus applications. Because phosphorus is essential to the initial root development of grass, the nutrient will remain in the company’s starter fertilizers, which are used for new lawns. Phosphorus will also remain in Scotts Miracle-Gro’s lines of organic lawn food, as it naturally occurs in the organic materials contained in the products. The company’s enhanced exploration of nitrogen technology will commence immediately, anticipating that the initiative will lead to a more efficient use of nitrogen in lawn fertilizers.

Hagedorn also said a central part of Scotts Miracle-Gro’s new initiative is a multi-year commitment to new consumer communication, education and grassroots outreach regarding water quality and conservation.

The move was applauded by several environmental organizations, including the Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Today’s choices by Scotts Miracle-Gro are a smart commitment to putting business to work for clean water," said Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, in a press release. "We look forward to continuing a partnership that helps put the Great Lakes on a healthy path for generations to come."

A more tempered approval came from Paul Tukey, founder of Safelawns.org, who said that Scotts’ decision came as anti-phosphorus legislation was either passed or pending in upwards of 14 states around the country. "Scotts can see the writing on the wall," Tukey said. The move is a welcome change, "but I wish they did it decades sooner," he added.

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