Lawson Products settles air quality violations with $126,000
SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board today accepted $126,000 from Lawson Products to settle clean-air violations caused by the company’s sales of consumer products that exceeded the legal limits of smog-causing and toxic air contaminants.
Lawson discovered the non-compliant products during an internal -audit in 2009, reported the infractions to the ARB, and worked with the state agency to assure no other violations would occur.
“While the illegal emissions are regrettable, the efforts made by Lawson to fix the problems are commendable,” said ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. “We took the company’s forthright behavior into account in assessing the final settlement.”
In the 2009 audit Lawson, which is based in Chicago, discovered several products they sold in California did not comply with state clean air regulations for so-called volatile organic compounds and toxic air contaminants. Lawson supplies chemical, automotive and specialty coating products for commercial, institutional, and maintenance, repair and operations customers. Further examination coordinated with the ARB revealed more violations. Because the company reported the issues to the ARB, however, the penalty was significantly reduced.
State regulations limit use of volatile organic compounds because when mixed with other pollutants and exposed to sunlight they can create ozone and particulate matter, the main ingredients of smog. Both ozone and particulate matter are a health threat exacerbating cardiopulmonary diseases.
Toxic air contaminants are compounds recognized by the state as causing or contributing to an increase in deaths or serious illnesses, or posing hazards to human health. Health effects occur at extremely low amounts and it is typically difficult to identify levels which do not produce adverse health effects. For this reason these compounds are banned from use in consumer products.
ARB reduces emissions of volatile organic compounds and toxic air contaminants from the widest possible range of sources in order to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.
To date, ARB consumer-product regulations have eliminated 225 tons per day of volatile organic compound emissions compared to 1990 levels. However, ARB estimates that emissions from consumer products continue to produce 245 tons per day, about 12 percent of the state’s total burden of these smog-forming compounds.
ARB’s mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.