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U.S. EPA settles with Merced company for chemical reporting violations

Release Date: 4/19/2005
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano

     SAN FRANCISCO   The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a $59,355 settlement with a Merced, Calif. company for failing to report the amount of a toxic chemical it was releasing from its facility, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

    Fineline Industries Inc., located at 455 Grogan Ave., failed to submit timely, complete, and correct reports regarding the amounts of styrene processed at its facility.  EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a routine investigation in 2004.

     "The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires accurate and timely reporting, and enforcing this regulation is a priority for the EPA," said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA's Communities and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest region.  "It is extremely critical that all facilities that use chemicals follow our release reporting rules to protect the health and safety of area residents, emergency response personnel, and the environment."            
    Federal community right-to-know laws require facilities processing more than 25,000 lbs of styrene to report their releases of the chemical to the EPA.  Fineline Industries Inc. exceeded this threshold from 1999 through 2002, but failed to submit reports to EPA for any of those years.

   The facility processes styrene used in its boat manufacturing operations.  Exposure to styrene vapors may affect the nervous system, resulting in effects such as depression, concentration problems, muscle weakness, tiredness, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat irritation.

     Federal law requires certain facilities using toxic chemicals over specified amounts to file annual reports of chemical releases with the EPA and the state.  The reports estimate the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management.  Information is then compiled into a national Toxics Release Inventory database and made available to the public annually.  

    For more information about the program, visit:  The U.S. EPA's environmental databases, including the Toxics Release Inventory data, can be accessed at: