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TDA urges consumers to check pesticide credentials

TDA urges consumers to check pesticide credentials

Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 8:01 pm

NASHVILLE — Springtime and early summer is great for getting back outdoors after the doldrums of winter, but it’s also a great time for bugs and weeds.
This is the season when many homeowners school officials and other entities turn to professionals to help control unwanted pests and lawn invaders. 
Pesticide officials with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture are urging homeowners, school officials and other entities to check the credentials of individuals and businesses before hiring them for pest control work. 
“Anyone who applies a pesticide for hire is required by state law to be properly certified, licensed and chartered by the Department of Agriculture,” said Regulatory Services Division Director Jimmy Hopper.  “It’s our job to make sure that anyone applying pesticides is qualified and that it’s done in a safe and proper manner.” 
Spring is one of the busiest seasons of the year for lawn care and home pest control businesses. To ensure you are hiring someone qualified, TDA encourages homeowners, school officials and other entities to:
• Ask for a Commercial Pesticide Applicators Certification card or Commercial Pesticide License card, one of which should be carried by all commercial applicators. 
• Look for a company name and charter number on any commercial vehicle or advertisement. A pest control company is allowed to do business legally in Tennessee only if the charter number is visible on such. 
• Check to see if the applicator is employed by a company with a valid charter from TDA. A list of chartered pest control businesses in Tennessee is found at http://agriculture.state.tn.us/ or by calling TDA Regulatory Services Division at 615-837-5148. 
• Ask for a solicitor’s card, required by TDA, if a company representative solicits your business.   
• Ask to see structural damage and verify the presence of termites before signing a contract for treatment. 
• Ask for a copy of the product label and Material Safety Data Sheet to better understand the hazards and proper use of pesticides around your home. 
With the recent growth of small, independently owned and operated lawn care and other pest control businesses, some individuals may be applying over-the-counter pesticides unknowingly in violation of the law. 
Applying pesticides without a valid license or charter is a Class A misdemeanor. Persons convicted for operating without a license are prohibited from engaging in commercial pest control activities for a year.
TDA investigates cases of pesticide misuse and consumers can make a complaint if they suspect that chemicals have been improperly applied by a legal or illegal applicator. Complaints must be submitted in writing on an official Pesticide Investigation Request form available at www.TN.gov/agriculture/regulatory or by calling 615-837-5148 locally, or toll-free 1-800-628-2631.
Published in The Messenger 5.11.10

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