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U.S. EPA fines Stockton, Calif. company nearly 194,000 for toxic chemical release violations

Release Date: 10/13/2009
Contact Information: Nahal Mogharabi, 415/947-4307,

U.S. EPA fines Stockton, Calif. company nearly $194,000 for toxic chemical release violations
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined Valimet, Inc. $193,996 for failing to submit reports detailing the amount of aluminum dust and copper compounds processed at its facility, a violation of the Emergency Planning and Community Right –to-Know-Act.
The EPA discovered during a routine inspection in April 2004 that Valimet, Inc., located at 431 Sperry Rd., processed more than 3 million pounds of aluminum (fume or dust) and more than 53,000 pounds of copper compounds annually between 2001 and 2005. Federal law requires facilities manufacturing or processing 25,000 pounds or more of aluminum (fume or dust) or copper compounds to report any release of these toxic chemicals on an annual basis to the EPA and the state.

The manufacturing company that produces metal powder failed to submit reports to the EPA for any of these years. An EPA administrative law judge ordered the company to pay the fine after an administrative hearing was held late last year.

“Facilities that process toxic chemicals, such as aluminum (fume or dust) and copper compounds, must follow reporting laws so residents and emergency response personnel are aware of possible chemical hazards in the local environment,” said Enrique Manzanilla, Communities and Ecosystems Division Director for EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “This penalty should remind others that we are maintaining a close watch over chemical reporting practices and are serious about enforcing community right-to-know laws.”

Toxic chemical reporting allows the public to be informed about releases and waste management activities of chemicals in their communities, and provides information for research and development of appropriate regulations.

Exposure to aluminum dust is usually not harmful. But exposure to high levels can lead to lung problems, such as coughing or abnormal chest X-rays, and decreased performance in tests measuring functions of the nervous system. Under the right conditions, aluminum dust is also explosive and flammable.

Copper is essential for good health. But exposure to high levels of copper dust can lead to irritation in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea. Intentionally high intakes of copper can lead to liver and kidney damage, and even death.

Each year the EPA compiles the information submitted to it from the previous year regarding toxic chemical releases, and produces a national Toxics Release Inventory database for public availability. The TRI database estimates the amounts of each toxic chemical released to the environment, treated or recycled on-site, or transferred off-site for waste management, and also provides a trend analysis of toxic chemical releases. The TRI database provides important information to emergency responders and the public concerning the presence of toxic chemicals in their communities.

For more information on the TRI program, please visit the EPA’s Web site at:

For more information on the Emergency Planning and Community Right –to-Know-Act, please visit the EPA’s Web site at:

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