Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


EPA settles case against a Richmond company for toxic chemical release reporting violations

Release Date: 4/5/2004
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reached a $9,356 settlement with a Richmond company Professional Finishing, Inc. 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.

The company, located at 1041 Hensley St., failed to submit timely, complete and correct reports regarding the amount of methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) it released. EPA inspectors discovered the violations during a routine inspection in 2001.

Federal community right-to-know laws require facilities that use more than 10,000 lbs of MEK annually to report their releases of the chemical to the EPA. Professional Finishing exceeded this threshold from 2000 through 2002, but failed to submit reports to EPA for any of those years.

In connection with its liquid and powder coating services, the facility uses MEK to clean its paint spray equipment. MEK exposure can irritate the eyes, nose, and head; it can also cause dizziness, fatigue, memory alteration, dermatitis, headaches, nausea, paresthesia of extremities, diminished vision, acidosis and vomiting. If the exposure is prolonged, it can severely affect the central nervous system.

"These right-to-know reports give local citizens valuable information on chemicals being used in their communities," said Enrique Manzanilla, the EPA's regional Cross Media Division director for the 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 law requires certain facilities using 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 database and made available to the public.

Each year the EPA publishes a report entitled the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Public Data Release, which summarizes the prior year's submissions and provides a trend analysis of toxic chemical releases.

For more information on the program, visit
The EPA's environmental databases, including TRI data, can be accessed at: