EPA reaches agreement with Grainger

U.S. EPA Region 5 has reached an agreement with W.W. Grainger Inc. on alleged violations of federal clean-air regulations designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. EPA assessed a $177,156 penalty for the violations that apply to Grainger's business headquartered at 100 Grainger Parkway, Lake Forest, Ill.

The agreement resolves an EPA administrative complaint alleging that, among other things, Grainger sold banned products made with an ozone-depleting substance.

Grainger sold some products containing dichlorofluoroethane -- a chlorofluorocarbon or CFC -- including a wheel chock that is banned from sale or distribution and aerosol dispensers of cleaning fluids for electronic or photographic equipment.

EPA said Grainger failed to display proper notification where products containing the ozone-depleting substance were sold. In addition, EPA said the company sold products containing an ozone-depleting substance to unqualified buyers and to buyers that failed to show proof that they were qualified buyers. Federal regulations require that certain products containing ozone-depleting substances be sold only to commercial buyers.

EPA said Grainger has remedied the alleged violations by stopping the sale of its wheel chock, posting proper notifications and eliminating sales to non-commercial buyers.

Chlorofluorocarbons deplete the stratospheric or "good" ozone layer, allowing dangerous amounts of cancer-causing ultraviolet rays from the sun to strike the earth. Production of some of these chemicals was stopped in 1995, and federal law strictly controls their use and handling.

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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