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U.S. EPA settles with Poway firm for $63,100 over toxic chemical reporting violations


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently settled for $63,100 with a Poway, Calif. company after it voluntarily disclosed its failure to submit toxic chemical reports, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

K-Tube, located at 13400 Kirkham Way, manufactures precision stainless steel, medical-use tubing.

“Facilities that use toxic chemicals must follow the EPA’s reporting rules so that area residents and emergency response personnel are informed of possible chemical hazards in the local environment,” said Frances Schultz, Communities and Ecosystems Acting Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This is a good example of how the EPA and industry can work together. K-Tube voluntarily disclosed the violations and corrected them, bringing the company into compliance with federal law and making the information available for public use.”

According to the EPA, K-Tube failed to submit timely, complete, and correct reports detailing the amounts of trichloroethylene and chromium compounds released at its facility in 2001-05, and nickel compounds released at its facility in 2002-2005. After discovering these 14 reporting violations in the summer of 2006, K-Tube disclosed them voluntarily to the EPA within 21 days of discovery and corrected them within 60 days of discovery.

Pursuant to the EPA’s policy of encouraging voluntary disclosure, K-Tubes’s $252,400 penalty was reduced to $63,100.

Federal community right-to-know laws require facilities processing more than 25,000 pounds of chromium or nickel compounds, or otherwise using more than 10,000 pounds of trichloroethylene, to report releases of these chemicals on an annual basis to EPA and the state. Although K-Tube exceeded these thresholds 14 times for the three toxic chemicals at issue in 2001-05, it failed to submit reports to EPA for any of those occasions.

Short term exposure to trichloroethylene may lead to skin rashes, headaches, lung irritation, and difficulty concentrating. Long term exposure to trichloroethylene may lead to nerve, kidney, and liver damage; long term exposure to high levels of chromium compounds may lead to lung cancer, and exposure to high levels of nickel compounds may lead to allergic reactions and kidney damage. Breathing in nickel dust or fumes can be a human carcinogen.

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.

For more information on the TRI program, please visit: The U.S. EPA’s environmental databases, including the TRI data, can be accessed at:


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