U.S. EPA settles for $9,030 with Pomona company over toxic chemical reporting violations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a $9,030 settlement with a Pomona, Calif. company for its failure to submit required toxic chemical reports, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
Silpak, Inc., located at 470 E. Bonita Ave., failed to submit timely, complete, and correct reports detailing the amounts of diisocyananates processed at its facility in 2003 and 2004.
After having discovered these two reporting violations in the spring of 2006, Silpak, Inc. disclosed them voluntarily to the EPA. Although the self-disclosures and corrections of these violations were performed by Silpak, Inc. by August 2006, they did not meet the EPA’s requirements for prompt disclosure and correction that might have resulted in reductions of up to 100% of the proposed penalty. As a result of the EPA’s general policy of working with industry and encouraging voluntary disclosure, however, the statutory penalty of $12,900 was reduced to $9,030 to reflect Silpak, Inc.’s good-faith compliance efforts.
“Facilities that process toxic chemicals such as diisocyanates must follow our reporting rules so that area residents and emergency response personnel are informed of possible chemical hazards in the local environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This penalty should remind others that we are maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices and are serious about enforcing community right-to-know laws.”
Federal community right-to-know laws require facilities manufacturing or processing more than 25,000 pounds, or otherwise using more than 10,000 pounds, of diisocyanates to report releases of the chemical on an annual basis to EPA and the state. Although Silpak, Inc., exceeded this threshold in 2003 and 2004, it failed to submit reports to EPA for either of those years.
Silpak, Inc., processes diisocyanates in connection with its repackaging of adhesives for commercial distribution to the industrial arts sector. Diisocyanates are powerful irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Diisocyanates can
cause inflammation through direct skin contact and can sensitize workers, making them subject to severe asthma attacks if they are exposed again.
Each year EPA compiles the information submitted to it from the previous year regarding toxic chemical releases and produces a national Toxics Release Inventory (“TRI”) database for public availability. This TRI database estimates the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management, and also provides a trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.
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