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Salisbury Mass. Bandage Maker Pays $215K Penalty for Environmental Violations

Release Date: 05/21/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 21, 2010) – A Salisbury, Mass.-based company that makes bandages and tape for athletic and medical purposes has agreed to pay $215,340 to settle environmental claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA’s New England office alleged that the company, Andover Healthcare, emitted air pollution in violation of the federal Clean Air Act, and failed to submit information required under the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act.

EPA’s complaint stated that on five separate days in 2008, Andover Healthcare operated without its required air pollution control device, a catalytic oxidizer. Moreover, on numerous occasions over a five-year period Andover operated its catalytic oxidizer at temperatures too low to ensure the proper destruction of volatile organic compounds. Andover also failed to sample the oxidizer catalyst’s core on an annual basis, and failed to prepare annual reports of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutant emissions, as required by law.

As a result, Andover Healthcare was charged by EPA with emitting excess amounts of toluene and heptane, both volatile organic compounds. Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone. Exposure to ground level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion, and can exacerbate conditions associated with bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. In addition to being a volatile organic compound, toluene is a hazardous air pollutant. Chronic inhalation exposure to toluene can hurt the central nervous system and also irritate the upper respiratory tract and eyes and cause sore throats, dizziness, and headaches.

The company has now eliminated its toluene and heptane emissions by switching to water-based components.

The Right-to-Know violations arose because Andover failed to submit to EPA toxic release inventory forms for toluene between 2005 through 2007. Andover also failed to notify the local fire department, State Emergency Response Commission, and Local Emergency Planning Committee of certain chemical substances at Andover’s facility, including sulfuric acid.

More information:

- EPA enforcement of Clean Air Act and EPCRA in New England (http://epa.gov/region1/enforcement/index.html)

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