31 August 1998 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]By Glenn Hess
Chisso America Inc., a Tokyo-based chemical manufacturer, has been cited by Environmental Protection Agency for violating multiple chemical import rules at its New York facility. The company faces up to $335,300 in penalties for alleged non-compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act.
In a four-count complaint, Chisso was cited for failing to test or apply for an exemption from testing decabromodiphenyloxide, a flame retardant chemical that it imported into the US from Japan. TSCA requires manufacturers and importers to test certain chemicals that may contain harmful impurities to ensure that the impurities do not appear in the finished product.
According to EPA, records show that Chisso imported decabromodiphenyloxide between 1993 and 1997 without performing the required tests for the presence of dioxin or dibenzofuran or applying for a waiver from the testing requirement.
While Chisso was in violation of the testing requirement at the time it imported the chemical, the firm has since applied for and received an exemption.
"TSCA requirements are critical to EPA's efforts to prevent pollution and protect people's health. They enable the agency to determine the risk a new chemical may pose and prevent problems before that chemical is used in the US, says Jeanne M. Fox, administrator of EPA's New York office. "The importer's certification must be accurate so that EPA can ensure the proper regulation of chemicals entering the country."
Chisso was also cited for failure to file premanufacture notices prior to importing two chemicals used in the manufacture of a variety of US-made products. In addition to information about the toxicology and planned uses of the chemicals, the notices contain information on possible human health and environmental effects if a release of the chemicals occurs.
Under TSCA, premanufacture notices must be filed 90 days prior to the importation of any chemical that does not appear on the TSCA chemical substance inventory, which contains about 70,000 chemicals.
The two chemicals that Chisso imported were not on the TSCA inventory list. Additionally, the company was cited for improperly certifying the TSCA compliance status of the imported chemicals to the US Customs Service.
Because EPA cannot directly verify whether imported chemicals comply with TSCA requirements, importers must certify that all imported chemical shipments comply. An attorney representing Chisso says penalties imposed were predictable based on EPA's penalty policy, but the company is not sure that the facts of the case support the agency's complaint.
Separately, E. I. duPont de Nemours & Co. has agreed to pay a $21,000 penalty for violating chemical reporting requirements at the DuPont Marshall Laboratory in Philadelphia.
The administrative settlement resolves EPA's September 1997 complaint alleging that the Delaware-based company violated premanufacture notification regulations for four chemicals made at the site.
The notification must state where the new substances will be manufactured, processed, or used. According to EPA's complaint, DuPont's notices for the chemicals did not specify the DuPont Marshall Laboratory as the manufacturing site, which a judge subsequently ruled constituted material new information that must be reported under TSCA.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
Asian Chemical Connections