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EPA reaches agreement with Pickens Plastics

Release Date: 11/02/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

For Immediate Release
No. 05-OPA233

CHICAGO (Nov. 2, 2005) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with Pickens Plastics Inc. on alleged clean-air violations at the company's plastic composite plants at 149 S. Cucumber St., Jefferson, Ohio, and at 4212 Anne Ave., Ashtabula, Ohio.

Pickens has agreed to complete two environmental projects to protect public health and to pay a $19,000 penalty. For its environmental projects, Pickens will carry out an acetone reduction project by using an acetone substitute to clean tools and use a paint formula with a lower level of volatile organic compounds. Both projects will cut emissions by more than 14 tons over two years and cost $143,340.

The agreement resolves EPA allegations that both Pickens sites allowed emissions of volatile organic compounds to exceed limits in their state operating permits. EPA said styrene and acetone were the pollutants released.

Breathing high levels of styrene for a short time can cause nervous system effects such as depression, concentration problems, muscle weakness, tiredness and nausea.

Breathing moderate-to-high levels of acetone for short periods of time can cause nose, throat, lung and eye irritation; headaches; light-headedness; confusion; nausea and vomiting.