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Tewksbury-based Supermarket Chain Faces EPA Penalty for Environmental Disclosure Violations

Release Date: 02/15/2011
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Feb. 15, 2011) – DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc. was charged in a complaint filed this month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with violating the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know to Act by failing to follow federal reporting requirements at its Market Basket perishables distribution warehouse facility in Andover, Mass.

The action stems from a Dec. 2008 inspection and a subsequent investigation. According to EPA’s complaint, the company failed to submit a “material safety data sheet” for Genetron 22, or a list of chemicals including Genetron 22, a hazardous chemical, to the state emergency response commission, local emergency planning committee, and the local fire department with jurisdiction over the facility. The federal law requires the owner of a facility to report within three months information about hazardous chemicals present at the facility in amounts that exceed minimum threshold levels. Records indicated that the company acquired the chemical on March 4, 2008. Genetron 22 is a chemical containing chlorodifluoromethane and is used to service refrigeration systems.

DeMoulas Super Markets, Inc. also failed to file required chemical inventory forms on March 1, 2008 for the calendar year 2007 for sulfuric acid, considered an “extremely hazardous chemical,” and for lead, gasoline, diesel fuel, and R507, all considered “hazardous chemicals.” Sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and presents significant risks from contact, including lung damage from inhalation of vapors. Diesel fuel is a flammable liquid and vapor and poses health risks from contact, including skin irritation and lung damage. Lead presents a reactivity risk and a threat to response personnel from contact, including skin and lung contact.

Lack of chemical inventory forms can compromise proper emergency planning and response by state and local emergency officials. Failure to file these forms also deprives the community of its right to know about chemicals present in the neighborhood. The company faces a possible penalty of up to $42,171 for the violations.

More information on enforcing Right-to-know laws in New England (http://www.epa.gov/region01/enforcement/epcra/index.html)

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