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Ferndale wood treatment company fined over $25,000 for improperly reporting chemical use and releases

Release Date: 09/19/2011
Contact Information: Hanady Kader, EPA Public Affairs, 206-553-0454, kader.hanady@epa.gov, Graham Kirn, EPA Toxics Release Inventory Program, 206-553-1603, kirn.graham@epa.gov

(Seattle—Sept. 19, 2011) Chemco, a company that manufactures wood treatment chemicals, will pay $25,400 for improper and late reporting on the use of two chemicals from 2005-2008, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company, located in Ferndale, Washington, failed to properly report its use and releases of formaldehyde and methanol.

“Companies that deal with toxic chemicals have an obligation to report accurately and on time each year about releases of chemicals,” said Kelly Huynh, Manager of the Inspection and Enforcement Management Unit at EPA. “The information keeps the public in the know about what’s in their communities.”

Chemco uses formaldehyde and methanol in its wood treatment chemical manufacturing. The company used more than 25,000 pounds of formaldehyde and 10,000 pounds of methanol in 2005, 2007 and 2008. The company reported its use and releases of formaldehyde and methanol in those years late or inaccurately. An EPA inspector identified the reporting lapses in 2010.

Methanol and formaldehyde are volatile organic compounds that can react in the atmosphere to form smog. Both chemicals can be harmful to the respiratory, nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen.

Under the federal Toxics Release Inventory Program, companies that use certain toxic chemicals are required to report annually about releases, transfers and waste management activities involving toxic chemicals at their facilities.

The Toxics Release Inventory Program falls under the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act, which aims to inform communities and citizens of chemical hazards in their neighborhoods.

For more information on the Toxics Release Inventory Program, visit http://www.epa.gov/tri/