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EPA SETTLES WITH ARIZONA PORTLAND CEMENT COMPANY FOR $82,442
Release Date: 6/4/2001
Contact Information: Wendy Chavez, U.S. EPA, 415/744-1588
SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached an $82,442 settlement on Friday with Arizona Portland Cement Company of Rillito, Ariz. for failing to report releases of toxic chemicals, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.
The company failed to report its annual releases of nickel and cobalt into the environment between 1996 and 1998. Exposure to high levels of cobalt, a possible carcinogen, can affect the lungs, including asthma, pneumonia and wheezing. The most common adverse health effects of nickel, a probable carcinogen, are allergic reactions, though workers who breathed high levels have experienced reduced lung function and developed lung cancer.
"Companies working with toxic chemicals have a responsibility to their employees and the surrounding neighborhood to report chemical releases," said Enrique Manzanilla, the Cross Media Division director of the EPA's Pacific Southwest office. "The EPA is maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices."
EPA investigators discovered the violations during an inspection of the facility in September 1999.
Federal law requires certain facilities using chemicals over certain amounts to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state. The reports estimate the amounts released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management. This information is then compiled into a national database called the Toxics Release Inventory and made available to the public.
More information about the Toxics Release Inventory program, including reporting requirements and instructions, can be obtained by calling (800) 535-0202, or at www.epa.gov/tri. The Toxics Release Inventory database, containing facility-specific chemical release data, can be accessed at www.epa.gov/enviro.