EPA Settlement with Avantor Performance Materials Resolves Public Right to Know and Mercury Export Violations
WASHINGTON (Dec. 20, 2021) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with Avantor Performance Materials, LLC (Avantor) to resolve alleged violations of Emergency Planning Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reporting requirements at Avantor’s Phillipsburg, New Jersey facility; Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) violations at both its Phillipsburg, New Jersey and Paris, Kentucky facilities; and TSCA Mercury Export Ban Act (MEBA) (Mercury Export Prohibition) violations at its Paris, Kentucky facility. Under this settlement agreement, negotiated by EPA Region 2, Avantor has certified it is now in compliance with TSCA and EPCRA. It has submitted its required CDR and TRI reports for a variety of chemicals including acids, bases, salts, solvents and metals, and has ceased exporting elemental mercury. Avantor will also pay a $600,000 civil penalty. The Consent Agreement and Final Order was approved by the EPA Environmental Appeals Board on December 15, 2021 and is effective immediately.
“Complying with these reporting requirements and the mercury export ban is an essential part of protecting public health, the environment, and emergency preparedness,” said Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By reducing the global supply of elemental mercury in commerce, the mercury export ban seeks to reduce human exposure to this potent neurotoxin.”
Under EPCRA, facilities that manufacture, process, or otherwise use certain toxic chemicals above threshold amounts must file annual reports of their chemical releases and transfers with EPA and the appropriate state agency or tribe. In this case, EPA found that Avantor processed many chemical substances at its Phillipsburg, New Jersey facility. Of those chemicals, it failed to report 17 chemicals to the TRI for calendar year 2015 by the required due date of July 1, 2016.
Under TSCA, chemical manufacturers and importers must comply with EPA’s CDR requirement every four years. Facilities must report chemical production amounts for sites that manufacture (including import) 25,000 pounds or more of an existing chemical substance on the TSCA inventory that was manufactured for commercial purpose in the U.S. during any one calendar year between submission periods. In this case, EPA found that Avantor failed to report 13 chemical substances that it imported for commercial purposes at its Phillipsburg facility and that it failed to report 16 chemical substances that it imported for commercial purposes at its Paris facility. These CDR reports were due between June 1, 2016 and October 31, 2016.
The Mercury Export Ban Act (MEBA) amended TSCA. TSCA prohibits the export of elemental mercury from the United States effective January 1, 2013, unless permitted under an exemption granted by EPA. Avantor exported elemental mercury from the United States, through its Paris facility, in quantities between one and two pounds between October 1, 2014 and May 29, 2018. These exports were sent to Canada, Taiwan, and India without Avantor having obtained an exemption from EPA, a violation of TSCA.
For more information on Toxics Release Inventory reporting, Chemical Data Reporting and the Mercury Export Ban Act, please visit these websites: