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Release Date: 9/30/1999
Contact Information: Leo Kay, U.S. EPA, (415)744-2201

     SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Plastic Dress Up of South El Monte, Calif.  $43,428 today for allegedly failing to file reports estimating its releases of toxic chemical compounds, a violation of the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right- to-Know Act.  

     The company, which manufactures a variety of  plastic products, failed to properly report its releases of toluene, methanol and xylene in 1995 and 1996.  As part of its manufacturing process,  Plastic Dress Up emits these compounds into the air.  Exposure to high levels of toluene, methanol and xylene can cause a variety of human health effects, including harm to the nervous system, fatigue, general weakness, memory loss and visual problems.  These effects are not likely to occur at levels normally found in the environment.

     "People have a right to know what toxic chemicals are being used and released in their neighborhoods," said Enrique Manzanilla, the U.S. EPA's regional Cross Media Division director. "To assure companies are providing this information, the EPA is maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices."

     EPA investigators discovered the violations during a routine inspection of the facility in February of this year.

     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 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 database and made available to the public.  

     Each year the EPA publishes the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release, which summarizes the prior years submissions and provides detailed trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.  More information on the program can be obtained by calling (800) 535-0202.  The U.S.  EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can also be accessed via the Internet at: .

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