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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Sparks Local Business in Las Cruces, N.M.

Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard (r6press@epa.gov)
Jennah Durant

DALLAS - (Feb. 29, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding a $300,000 small business contract to Vista Photonics, Inc. in Las Cruces, N.M. The company plans to develop an inexpensive, high-performance, portable air pollution monitor to measure ammonia in the air.

"We've given companies the ability to take their ideas and technology from the laboratory to the market place," said Ron Curry, EPA regional administrator. "The innovative technology provides cutting-edge solutions to continuing environmental concerns, and help create good-paying local jobs.

The contract is part of a national initiative where eight other companies are developing innovative technologies to protect the environment through EPA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

The phase II contracts announced today provide the companies $300,000 to further develop and commercialize their products and ideas. Phase II awards are only available to companies that previously submitted research proposals for their innovative technologies and were awarded phase I contracts up to $100,000.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, which was enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible to participate in the SBIR program, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.

Ammonia is a poisonous gas. Exposure to its vapors can cause temporary blindness and eye damage, and irritation of the skin, mouth, throat, respiratory tract and mucous membranes. Prolonged exposure to ammonia vapor at high concentrations can lead to serious lung damage and even death.

For more information on EPA's SBIR Phase II recipients, visit: http://go.usa.gov/cv6vB

Learn more about EPA's SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir

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