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EPA settles with Northern California semiconductor manufacturer for failing to submit timely toxic chemical reports

Release Date: 11/01/2006
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

(11/01/06 -- SAN FRACISCO) SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has settled for a $51,900 penalty with a northern California company for allegedly failing to submit toxic chemical reports to the agency, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

    International Rectifier HiRel Products, Inc., located at 2270 Martin Avenue in Santa Clara, Calif., allegedly failed to submit timely reports detailing the amount of lead released at its facility between 2001-2003.

    "Facilities that use toxic chemicals such as lead must follow our reporting rules so that area residents and emergency response personnel are informed of possible chemical hazards in the local environment," said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems division director for the EPA's Pacific Southwest region. "This penalty should remind others that we are maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices and are serious about enforcing community right-to-know laws."

    Federal community right-to-know laws require facilities processing more than 100 pounds of lead to report releases of this chemical on an annual basis to the EPA and the state. International Rectifier HiRel Products exceeded this threshold in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and allegedly failed to submit release reports to the EPA.

    International Rectifier HiRel Products, Inc., processes lead in connection with its power semiconductors, power modules, integrated assemblies and DC-DC converter manufacturing operations. Exposure to lead can cause high blood pressure, digestive problems, muscle and joint pain, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, increased chance of illness during pregnancy, and cause harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death. Exposure to low levels of lead can severely harm children.

    Each year the EPA compiles the information submitted to it from the previous year regarding toxic chemical releases and produces a national Toxics Release Inventory database for public availability. This database includes detailed information on nearly 650 chemicals used by over 23,000 industrial and federal facilities.