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EPA cites Greif Brothers and H-O-H Chemicals for clean-air violations

Release Date: 12/01/2005
Contact Information:

CONTACT: William Omohundro, (312) 353-8254

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 05-OPA252

CHICAGO (Dec. 1, 2005) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has cited Greif Brothers Corp., 4300 W. 130th St., Alsip, Ill., and H-O-H Chemicals Inc., 500 S. Vermont St., Palatine, Ill., for alleged clean-air violations at two industrial process cooling towers at the Greif Brothers metal drum production plant in Alsip.

EPA alleges that H-O-H Chemicals supplied and monitored chromium-based corrosion inhibitors for treating water used in the Greif Brothers cooling towers in violation of national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants. The chemicals used were sodium chromate and sodium dichromate, both hexavalent chromium compounds.

"EPA's mission is to protect public health and the environment," said Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "We will take whatever steps are needed to ensure compliance with the Clean Air Act."

These are preliminary findings of violations. To resolve them, EPA may issue compliance orders, assess administrative penalties or bring suits against the companies. The companies have 30 days from receipt of the notice to meet with EPA to discuss resolving the allegations.

Short-term exposure to hexavalent chromium can cause shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Long-term exposure can cause perforations and ulcerations of the nasal septum, bronchitis, decreased pulmonary function, pneumonia and other respiratory effects. Hexavalent chromium is also a known cancer-causing agent.


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