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Environmental Violation Leads To Haz Mat Donation For Bohemia; EPA Policy Allows Vitamin Maker To Make Contribution To Long Island Fire Station

Release Date: 11/23/1999
Contact Information:

(#99185) New York, N.Y. -- In a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to submit on time information about toxic chemicals at its Bohemia, Long Island facility, vitamin manufacturer NBTY, Inc. will pay for materials that will help the Bohemia Fire Department better protect firefighters, local residents and the environment from accidents involving toxic chemicals. This supplemental environmental project (SEP) was made possible through an innovative EPA penalty policy that gives companies settling with the agency on certain environmental violations the option to undertake projects that will benefit human health and the environment. The cost of the projects can offset a portion of the monetary penalty EPA requires from violators of environmental laws. NBTY has also paid a $45,000 cash penalty as part of the settlement.

"EPA's policy of allowing some companies to undertake environmental projects as part of a settlement can be the silver lining of a violation," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Regional Administrator . "We are pleased that the settlement of this case will benefit Bohemia residents and the local environment, and we are optimistic that NBTY will not repeat its mistakes in the future."

A March 1997 EPA inspection of the NBTY facility at 105 Orville Drive revealed that the company had failed to report Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data for methanol and zinc compounds for the years of 1993, 1994 and 1995. The company submitted the missing forms in September 1997. NBTY uses methanol to clean equipment and in its granulation and tablet coating processes. The zinc compounds are incorporated into NBTY products. Companies like NBTY that manufacture, process, import or otherwise use such chemicals above certain thresholds must submit annual TRI forms to EPA providing detailed information about them. This includes how they were used, and whether they were released into the environment, recycled, treated or disposed-of. This information is compiled annually into a Toxic Release Inventory report, and made available to the public to help people know more about the chemicals present in their local environment. NBTY's SEP will provide the Bohemia fire station with materials that will help firefighters respond to chemical emergencies faster and more safely. The company will provide the fire station with a computer server, four computers, network cabling and a two-year subscription to a database that provides up-to-date health hazard information about toxic chemicals, and how to address fires, spills, releases and other emergencies involving those chemicals. The cost of this supplemental environmental project will be approximately $20,600. The purchase and installation of the equipment must be done by December 22, 1999.

The company reported sales in fiscal year 1998 of $572 million.

For more information contact:

Nina Habib Spencer, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3670 FAX: 212-637-4445 E-Mail: habib.nina@epamail.epa.gov