ARB fines manufacturer of cleaning wipes $400,000 for air quality violations
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board has fined Apothecary Products Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of consumer health care products and pharmacy supplies, $400,000 for selling general-purpose cleaning products that violated California’s air quality regulations.
An ARB investigation revealed that for more than three years, Naples, Fla.-based Apothecary Products sold, supplied and offered for sale in California more than 20 different brands and types of optical glass cleaning products that exceeded a volatile organic compound content limit of 0.5 percent for general purpose cleaners. While each product was labeled for use as an optical cleaner – which carries no VOC limit -- additional cleaning claims made on the product labels placed them into the general-purpose cleaning category which is subject to a 0.5 percent VOC content limit.
VOCs are regulated by the ARB because they react with other pollutants under sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a main ingredient in smog. In this case, it is estimated that more than 33 tons of excess VOCs were emitted as a result of sales to consumers.
“ARB is constantly working to ensure that products sold to consumers in California meet the standards for smog-causing chemicals,” ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden said. “Companies need to understand that regulations for these chemicals in consumer products are to prevent air pollution and protect public health.”
Apothecary Products sold, supplied and offered for sale products in violation of California air quality regulations under a variety of brand names, such as Flents Wipe ’n Clear Biodegradable Lens Wipe and Wipe ’n Clear Pre-Moistened Lens Wipes.
The case was settled late last year for $400,000, with an additional $25,000 payment to be suspended for 12 months pending an effort to reformulate the product. Apothecary has relabeled the products to indicate they are only to be used to clean optical glass, a use exempted from VOC limits. The additional payment would be triggered if the company is unsuccessful at reformulating the product so it complies with the VOC limit for general-purpose cleaners.
Apothecary also agreed not to sell, supply or offer for sale for use in California any consumer product in violation of ARB air quality regulations. All fines are paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research to improve California’s air quality.