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EPA cites Lesaffre and Sensient for clean-air violations

Release Date: 7/15/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA117

CHICAGO (July 15, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited two Milwaukee companies - Lesaffre Yeast Corp. and Sensient Technologies Corp. - for alleged clean-air violations at a yeast manufacturing plant at 433 E. Michigan St. that Sensient sold to Lesaffre in February 2001.

EPA alleges that major changes were made to the plant in 1996 and 2000 that increased ozone-producing volatile organic compound emissions without getting permits that would require additional pollution controls. The Milwaukee area does not meet national outdoor air quality standards for ozone.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Acting Regional Administrator Bharat Mathur. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue a compliance order, assess an administrative penalty or bring suit against the company. Lesaffre and Sensient have 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.

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