This excerpt taken from the SMG 10-K filed Nov 29, 2007.
Local, state, federal and foreign laws and regulations relating to environmental matters affect us in several ways. In the United States, all products containing pesticides must be registered with the U.S. EPA (and similar state agencies) before they can be sold. The inability to obtain or the cancellation of any such registration could have an adverse effect on our business, the severity of which would depend on the products involved, whether another product could be substituted and whether our competitors were similarly affected. We attempt to anticipate regulatory developments and maintain registrations of, and access to, substitute active ingredients, but there can be no assurance that we will continue to be able to avoid or minimize these risks.
The Food Quality Protection Act, enacted by the U.S. Congress in August 1996, establishes a standard for food-use pesticides, which standard is the reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the cumulative effects of pesticide exposures. Under this Act, the U.S. EPA is evaluating the cumulative risks from dietary and non-dietary exposures to pesticides. The pesticides in our products, certain of which may be used on crops processed into various food products, are typically manufactured by independent third parties and continue to be evaluated by the U.S. EPA as part of this exposure risk assessment. The U.S. EPA or the third party registrant may decide that a pesticide we use in our products will be limited or made unavailable to us. For example, in December 2000, the U.S. EPA reached agreement with various parties, including manufacturers of the active ingredient diazinon, regarding a phased withdrawal from retailers by December 2004 of residential uses of products containing diazinon, also used in our lawn and garden products. We cannot predict the outcome or the severity of the effect of their continuing evaluations.
In addition, the use of certain pesticide and fertilizer products is regulated by various local, state, federal and foreign environmental and public health agencies. These regulations may include requirements that only certified or professional users apply the product or that certain products be used only on certain types of locations, may require users to post notices on properties to which products have
been or will be applied, may require notification to individuals in the vicinity that products will be applied in the future or may ban the use of certain ingredients. Even if we are able to comply with all such regulations and obtain all necessary registrations, we cannot assure you that our products, particularly pesticide products, will not cause injury to the environment or to people under all circumstances. The costs of compliance, remediation or products liability have adversely affected operating results in the past and could materially affect future quarterly or annual operating results.
Perceptions that the products we produce and market are not safe could adversely affect us and contribute to the risk we will be subjected to legal action. We manufacture and market a number of complex chemical products, such as fertilizers, growing media, herbicides and pesticides. On occasion, allegations are made that some of our products have failed to perform up to expectations or have caused damage or injury to individuals or property. Based on reports of contamination at a third party suppliers vermiculite mine, the public may perceive that some of our products manufactured in the past using vermiculite are or may be contaminated. Public perception that our products are not safe, whether justified or not, could impair our reputation, involve us in litigation, damage our brand names and have a material adverse affect on our business.
The harvesting of peat for our growing media business has come under increasing regulatory and environmental scrutiny. In the United States, state regulations frequently require us to limit our harvesting and to restore the property to an agreed-upon condition. In some locations, we have been required to create water retention ponds to control the sediment content of discharged water. In the United Kingdom, our peat extraction efforts are also the subject of legislation.
In addition to the regulations already described, local, state, federal and foreign agencies regulate the disposal, handling and storage of waste, air and water discharges from our facilities.
The adequacy of our current environmental reserves and future provisions is based on our operating in substantial compliance with applicable environmental and public health laws and regulations and several significant assumptions:
If there is a significant change in the facts and circumstances surrounding these assumptions or if we are found not to be in substantial compliance with applicable environmental and public health laws and regulations, it could have a material impact on future environmental capital expenditures and other environmental expenses and our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.