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MARYLAND FIREARMS MAKER AGREES TO REDUCE AIRBORNE LEAD

Release Date: 12/29/1998
Contact Information: Ruth Podems (215) 814-5540

ACCOKEEK, Md. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Beretta U.S.A. Corp., a firearms manufacturer, has agreed to settle EPA’s complaint alleging Clean Air Act violations at the company’s Accokeek, Md. plant.  Under the terms of the administrative settlement, the company will pay an $18,136 penalty and perform a $72,800 environmental project to limit lead pollution from test-firing ranges.

According to EPA’s January 1998 administrative complaint, Beretta violated federal regulations requiring testing, monitoring, and operation and maintenance of chromium electroplating operations. Chromium compounds are regulated as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.  Exposure to chromium compounds may cause lung cancer, other respiratory ailments, and allergic reactions in the skin.

"Like all hazardous air pollutants, chromium compounds pose significant health and environmental risks.  We remain committed to vigorous enforcement of Clean Air Act regulations on electroplating operations," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.

In addition to the penalty, Beretta agreed in the December 22 settlement to install and operate a system to trap spent lead bullets and lead dust at two test-firing ranges at the plant.  This $72,800 project should reduce lead emissions from the facility to below detectible limits.

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