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Rhode Island Company Fined for PCB and Clean Air Act Violations


A manufacturer of high-performance materials including coated fabrics, Cooley Inc., will pay fines for violations of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) regulations and the federal Clean Air Act at its facility in Pawtucket, R.I.

After conducting a compliance inspection, EPA found that Cooley had violated the PCB regulations. Cooley used PCB-contaminated surfaces without meeting the required PCB cleanup standard and failed to comply with the requirements for the continued use of PCB-contaminated surfaces. Cooley will pay a fine of $43,845 for these violations. PCBs are persistent in the environment and are suspected carcinogens. Exposure to PCBs can cause liver problems and skin rashes.

Concurrently, Cooley Inc. is also settling a CAA violation with EPA for its inability to properly control emissions of hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) by the required 97 percent. The most common HAP used by Cooley is toluene. Low levels of toluene may affect the nervous system, whereas high levels may affect the kidneys. Cooley was unable to meet the required emission standard using its existing control device, a thermal oxidizer. The company has since installed a new oxidizer and is now in compliance. Cooley will pay a fine of $40,620 for this violation.

“PCBs and hazardous air pollutants pose a significant risk to public health risk,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It is important that companies using these substances take measures to ensure they are complying with all environmental regulations. Cooley corrected its violations quickly and paid a substantial fine without going to trial -- a good result for EPA and New England’s environment.”

The high-performance materials, which Cooley designs, develops and manufacturers, are used in a variety of different applications such as environmental containment liners, fuel and water tanks, medical products, roofing membranes, outdoor advertising, illuminated signs, and commercial awnings.


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