A grocery store in the Chinatown area of Honolulu has been fined nearly $8,000 by the Environmental Protection Agency for selling mothballs that weren’t properly labeled, and were said to “look so much like candy” that children might eat them. Hing Mau Inc. on Maunakea Street received a complaint in September 2001 regarding the mothballs, but decided not to settle the case. A San Francisco judge ordered the fine this week.
According to Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region division director, the mothballs were multi-colored and packaged in clear cellophane bags.
The mothballs contained napthalene, a common insecticide that could be toxic to humans depending on the type and length of exposure. Federal regulations require all pesticide products and their labels to be approved by the EPA.
“Without such products going through the proper registration process, we cannot be sure what they contain and whether they are properly packaged and labeled,” Manzanilla said. “These products in particular lacked appropriate packaging, warning statements, and directions for use.”
Hing Mau Inc. was incorporated in 1983 and registered with the state by Anne Hoang Sam, according to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.