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EPA reaches agreement with GFX International on clean-air violations

Release Date: 03/24/2009
Contact Information: William Omohundro, 312-353-8254, omohundro.william@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA031


CHICAGO (March 24, 2009) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has reached an agreement with GFX International Inc. on alleged Clean Air Act violations at the company's commercial printing plant at 333 Barron Blvd., Grayslake, Ill.

The agreement, which includes a $100,000 penalty and four environmental projects costing $260,000, resolves EPA allegations that GFX operated the plant without air permits that would have required controls on toluene, a hazardous volatile organic air pollutant that was used as a component of a wash-up solvent.

EPA notified the company of the alleged violations in January 2008. EPA inspected the plant in November 2007 after receiving a citizen complaint of odor from the GFX facility. Since June 2008 GFX has been using a blend of non-hazardous chemicals as a wash-up solvent.

The environmental projects are designed to protect the environment by reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds from the plant. The projects include installation of a device to extract solvents from shop towels and installation of an industrial solvent recovery system so that solvents can be reused.

Breathing high levels of toluene affects the brain and can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, sleepiness and memory loss.

Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of pollutants react on warm, sunny days. Smog can cause respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. People with asthma, children and the elderly are especially at risk, but these health concerns are important to everyone.
The GFX plant is located in an area that fails to meet the national outdoor air quality standard for ground-level ozone.

Information about EPA Region 5's air enforcement program is at http://www.epa.gov/region5/air/enforce/index.html. Potential environmental violations may be reported at http://www.epa.gov/compliance.complaints.

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