Greener lawns and deader birds, thanks Scotts!

My thanks to Ms. DailyDisgust for bringing my attention to this one.

Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is a friend to those who want greener lawns and more robust gardens.  Who they’re not so much a friend to: the birds for whom they knowingly sold toxin coated birdseed.

Scotts to pay $4.5M in fines from the Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 27, 2012

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has agreed to plead guilty to charges in federal court and pay $4.5 m illion in fines in two incidents that date to 2008.


Court documents state that, from November 2005 to March 2008, Scotts distributed 73 million units of birdseed coated with insecticides called Storcide II and Actellic 5E. This was done to keep insects from eating the seeds during storage.

Storcide’s label says the pesticide is “extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Documents state that Scotts continued to sell the products despite warnings in the summer and fall of 2007 from a pesticide chemist and an ornithologist, both of whom worked for the company.

In 2008, the company was kind enough to refrain from further killing birds by recalling said pesticide laden bird seed.  Awesome.  The story also notes that in an unrelated incident, in 2008 the company was found by the EPA to be selling garden products with falsified EPA registration numbers.

A small silver lining is that a half million dollars of the settlement money is going to various bird related groups in Ohio, where the settlement was reached.

Part of the fine — $500,000 — will be evenly split among five groups and agencies to fund efforts to protect birds. They are Audubon Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Program, Columbus Metro Parks, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Ohio Nature Conservancy.

Christie Vargo, director of the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, said Audubon Ohio will work with the Wilds in eastern Ohio and conservation groups along Lake Erie to improve migratory-bird habitats.

Bill Stanley, the Nature Conservancy’s conservation director, said his group will buy and maintain land in areas where wild birds stop or nest during migrations.

“We’re happy to try to do something beneficial for migratory birds,” Stanley said. “Ohio is a really important site for migratory birds.”


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