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Newburyport, Mass. Paint and Stain Manufacturer Settles with EPA for Pesticide and Hazardous Chemical Violations

Release Date: 05/08/2008
Contact Information: Jeanethe Falvey, (617) 918-1020

(Boston, Mass. – May 8, 2008) - A Newburyport, Mass. manufacturer, Valspar Corp., has paid a $266,800 penalty as a part of a settlement of an enforcement action brought by EPA for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA).

Valspar manufactures paints and stains, which are sold under the Samuel Cabot name, at the facility. Valspar bought Samuel Cabot, Inc., including its operations and Newburyport facility in 2005. Valspar employs about 100 people at the facility and over 9,000 people nationwide.

In the FIFRA portion of the complaint, EPA alleged that Valspar sold or distributed unregistered pesticide products, specifically, “Cabot SPF 1 Cleaner and Conditioner” and “Cabot Problem Solver Wood Cleaner” from March 2006 to February 2007. The labels on the products included claims about the products’ mildew and mold killing/removing properties, triggering EPA’s pesticide registration requirements. However, neither product had received a pesticide “registration” from EPA. Federal law directs EPA to perform rigorous, science-based assessments of pesticide products and their uses before they can be legally used in the U.S. Registration requirements were created for consumer protection, helping to ensure that no pesticide is distributed, sold or used in a manner that could pose unnecessary risk to human or ecological health.

In the EPCRA portion of the complaint, EPA alleged that Valspar failed to submit certain information, thereby hampering the public’s ability to obtain accurate information about the type and amount of toxic chemicals in their community. The violations were based on Valspar’s failure to submit to EPA, Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting Forms (Form-Rs) for five hazardous chemicals manufactured, processed or otherwise used in quantities above minimum threshold reporting levels. Form R information is entered into EPA’s publicly accessible Toxic Release Inventory.

EPCRA was enacted by Congress in 1986 to provide greater protection of the public from chemical emergencies and dangers through public disclosure by business and industry of the chemicals they store, use, and release. EPCRA was passed in the wake of the 1984 Bhopal, India chemical release disaster, which killed 3,000 people and injured many more, and a toxic release from a West Virginia chemical plant less than a year later.

Valspar corrected the EPCRA and FIFRA violations as of spring 2007.

“It’s very important for industries that work with chemicals to understand and comply with environmental laws, which are designed to protect the health of people and the environment,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office.

More information:

Pesticides and the FIFRA program in New England (

National Pesticide Registration (

Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (

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