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TENNESSEE MAN SENTENCED FOR PESTICIDE MISUSE


TENNESSEE MAN SENTENCED FOR PESTICIDE MISUSE
FOR RELEASE:   FRIDAY, JANUARY 8, 1999


    TENNESSEE MAN SENTENCED FOR PESTICIDE MISUSE

Robert E. Kelly, Jr., owner of Kelly's Spraying Service, of Memphis,
Tenn., was sentenced on December 30, 1998 to serve 20 months in prison and
was also ordered to pay $250,000 in restitution to EPA by the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in Memphis, Tenn. 
Kelly was convicted of charges that he purchased at least 280 gallons of
the pesticide methyl parathion in Mississippi under the false pretense
that it would be used for agricultural purposes.  He also was convicted of
illegally applying the pesticide in homes in the Memphis area. Methyl
parathion, also known as "cotton poison," is a highly toxic substance,
which is only approved for outdoor use in uninhabited agricultural fields
where sunlight rapidly reduces its toxicity.  When applied indoors it can
remain toxic for up to two years, and can cause headache, nausea,
convulsions, coma and death.  Evidence introduced at the trial indicated
that Kelly did not warn his customers of the dangerous nature of the
pesticides he was applying, even when his customers asked.  Hundreds of
Kelly's customers were exposed to high levels of methyl parathion, which
caused many of them to become ill.  The case was investigated by EPA
Criminal Investigation Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Tennessee Department of Agriculture and was prosecuted by the U.S.
Department of Justice. 

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