Coatings Company Shellacked for Not Reporting Toxic Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached a $48,600 settlement with Performance Coatings Inc. of Ukiah, Calif., for allegedly failing to submit required toxic chemical reports, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. According to EPA, the company regularly uses toxic chemicals such as xylene and ethylbenzene in its paint and coating manufacturing operations yet failed to submit timely, complete reports to the agency and the state detailing the amounts of the two toxic chemicals processed at its facility from 2004 through 2006. EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a 2007 routine inspection.

Exposure to high levels of xylene and ethylbenzene can cause a variety of human health effects, including harm to the nervous system, fatigue, general weakness, memory loss and visual problems.

“Companies that use toxic chemicals must provide complete and accurate information about these chemicals so that area residents are aware of possible chemical hazards in the community,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

Federal emergency planning laws require facilities processing more than 25,000 pounds of these two chemicals to report releases of the chemicals on an annual basis to EPA and the state. Although Performance Coatings processed the two chemicals in amounts more than this threshold in 2004, 2005, and 2006, it failed to submit reports to the EPA for those years, the agency said.

Each year the EPA compiles information submitted from the previous year regarding toxic chemical releases, and produces a national Toxics Release Inventory database for public availability. The 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 information on the TRI program, visit www.epa.gov/tri. EPA’s environmental databases, including the TRI program data, can be accessed at www.epa.gov/enviro.

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