MAC: Mines and Communities

UK-listed company fined US$2.5 million for chromium injuries

Published by MAC on 2013-11-18
Source: Environmental News Service (ENS) (2013-11-14)

The current key shareholders in Elementis Chromium plc are: Schroder PLC (9.73%),
AXA Investment Managers SA (6.27%), Ameriprise Financial Inc. (4.96%), BlackRock Inc (4.40%) & Norges Bank (3.95%).

Elementis Chromium Hit With $2.57 Million Fine

Environmental News Service (ENS)

14 November 2013

WASHINGTON, DC  - Elementis Chromium, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of chromium chemicals, today was ordered to pay a penalty of $2.57 million for failing to disclose information about substantial risk of injury to human health from exposure to hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen, on workers in chemical production plants, as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA.

With a U.S. base in East Windsor, New Jersey, Elementis is a UK-listed global specialty chemicals company with operations worldwide.

Elementis has been manufacturing and distributing chromium-based chemical substances and mixtures for more than 35 years and has two main manufacturing plants in Castle Hayne, North Carolina, and Corpus Christi, Texas.

In September 2010, the U.S. EPA filed a complaint against Elementis with the Office of Administrative Law Judges, alleging violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The EPA complained that Elementis failed to report the results of an industry-commissioned study that documented significant occupational impacts to workers in modern chemical plants.

According to EPA, the study filled a gap in scientific literature regarding the relationship between hexavalent chromium exposure and respiratory cancer in modern chromium production facilities.

The Toxic Substances Control Act requires chemical manufacturers, processors, or distributors that obtain information demonstrating that a substance or mixture presents a substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment immediately inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This information allows EPA to understand and limit, when necessary, potential hazards associated with the manufacturing, use, and disposal of chemical substances.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Susan Biro held an administrative hearing in December 2011, where both sides presented expert witnesses and evidence.

On November 12, Judge Biro issued her decision, concluding that Elementis had violated the Toxic Substances Control Act, and assessed the multi-million dollar penalty.

"This decision supports our commitment to public health and reinforces the importance of companies providing key information about the risks their chemicals pose," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

"Our job is to protect all Americans from exposure to harmful chemicals at home, at work and in their daily lives," she said.

The decision will become a final order 45 days following issuance unless the company chooses to appeal the decision to EPA's Environmental Appeals Board.

 

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