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Fine Proposed Against US Surgical for Clean Air Violations in North Haven, Conn.

Release Date: 02/10/2006
Contact Information:

U.S. EPA - New England Regional Office
February 10, 2006

Contact: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

(Boston) – A fine of $165,000 may be levied under an EPA complaint against the US Surgical of North Haven, Conn. for Clean Air Act violations. The EPA complaint outlines violations that include leaking more than 500 pounds of ozone depleting refrigerant into the atmosphere.

The complaint, issued by EPA’s New England regional office, asserts that US Surgical Corporation, a division of Tyco HealthCare Group LP, failed to adequately repair the leak of ozone-depleting substances from an industrial process refrigeration unit and also failed to conduct leak repair tests or keep required service records for repairs of some units, all in violation of the federal Clean Air Act.

Certain types of refrigerants have been known to destroy the thin layer of ozone in the upper part of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere. Most of these refrigerants are being phased out and replaced with safer alternatives.

The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans from being exposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Federal stratospheric ozone protection regulations were established to limit the emissions of substances that destroy the ozone layer. These regulations provide strict rules governing the service, maintenance, repair and disposal of ozone-depleting substances.

“The ozone layer provides important protection to all of us from the sun’s harmful rays,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “It’s important that companies and individuals who work with ozone-depleting substances follow appropriate steps to ensure the materials are not released into the atmosphere. This helps keep the ozone layer intact.”

US Surgical manufactures wound closure products and advanced surgical devices. The North Haven facility contains 46 industrial process refrigeration units.

EPA New England recently proposed fines against Kraft Foods in Woburn, Mass. for similar violations. Kraft is a multinational corporation with food processing facilities in nearly every state. Refrigeration equipment owned and operated by the company requires the use of industrial process refrigeration units containing ozone depleting substances.

The complaint stemmed from a referral in 2004 from the state, which did not have the authority to enforce this rule.

More information on EPA New England’s Air Enforcement Program: .

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