EPA Fines Bobalee, Inc. in Iowa for Alleged Hazardous Waste Violations

April 10, 2023
Bobalee Inc. in Laurens, Iowa, will pay $26,534 in civil penalties to resolve alleged violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the company, which manufactures welded hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, generated hazardous waste at its facility and failed to notify EPA of its status as a hazardous waste generator and failed to properly handle the hazardous waste.
“It is a violation of federal law to generate hazardous waste and fail to notify EPA or obtain the necessary permits,” said David Cozad, director of EPA Region 7’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “EPA’s enforcement actions demonstrate our commitment to protect human health and the environment from potential releases of chemical waste.”
According to EPA, Bobalee Inc. generates paint waste that is classified as toxic and ignitable as part of its manufacturing process.
Upon notification to Bobalee Inc. of the alleged violations, the company took immediate steps to return to compliance.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste.
Under Settlement with EPA, East Peoria Businesses Must Halt Sales of Devices that Alter Vehicle Emissions
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a consent order with Joshua Davis, River City Diesel LLC, RCD Performance LLC, and Midwest Truck and 4WD Center LLC (collectively Defendants) of East Peoria, Illinois, which requires the defendants to stop manufacturing, selling, offering to sell, and installing devices that bypass, defeat, or render inoperative EPA-approved emission controls and harm air quality, commonly referred to as Aftermarket Defeat Devices.
The settlement announced today resolves a Complaint filed in August 2022 in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, alleging that Mr. Davis and the other defendants’ manufacture, sale and installation of tens of thousands of defeat devices violated the Clean Air Act.  The Defendants will pay a $600,000 penalty, which was based on their financial situation, and agree to notify customers that Defendants will no longer provide technical support or honor warranty claims for the defeat device products.
“By providing devices that avoid air emissions controls, defendants helped others cheat a system designed to protect the public’s health, in particular, elderly and young children,” said Acting Assistant Administrator Larry Starfield of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “Today’s settlement holds them accountable for their unlawful acts and not only prohibits the future sale of aftermarket defeat devices by the Defendants, but also mandates Clean Air Act compliance training for all of their employees.”
As a result of EPA’s efforts to improve air quality and fuel efficiency, cars and trucks manufactured today emit far less pollution than older vehicles.  To meet EPA’s emission standards, engine manufacturers have carefully calibrated their engines and installed sophisticated emissions control systems.
Tampering with diesel-powered vehicles by installing defeat devices causes large amounts of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions, both of which contribute to serious public health problems.  These include premature death, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function.  Numerous studies also link diesel exhaust to increased incidence of lung cancer.  Respiratory issues disproportionately affect families, especially children, living in underserved communities overburdened by pollution.  Stopping the sale and use of defeat devices will help reduce harmful air pollution that exacerbates the health effects of pollutant exposures.
The Consent Decree for this settlement was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois and will be available for review and public comments for no less than thirty days.
US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Releases 2022 Injury and Illness Data
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published 2022 injury and illness data based on reports by more than 300,000 establishments. The Injury Tracking Application data is part of OSHA's electronic recordkeeping requirements for certain employers who were required to submit OSHA Form 300A information from Jan. 2 to March 2, 2023.
Providing access to injury and illness data helps identify unsafe conditions and workplace hazards that may cause occupational injuries and illness. Knowing about those hazards is the first step to control them and reduce occupational injuries and illnesses. This data also provides employers, workers, and the public with valuable insights so they can make informed decisions. OSHA also expects the information to improve research on the occurrence, prevention and control of workplace hazards, injuries and illnesses.
"Recordkeeping is a valuable tool that provides a road map to where and why injuries and illnesses occur and where improvements are needed," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. "By increasing access to this data, we are providing information that can help people better understand the overall effectiveness of safety and health systems in the workplace."
Over the last year, OSHA conducted extensive outreach through website updates, social media outreach and stakeholder emails to help employers understand their obligations and submit 2021 data. As part of its continued recordkeeping enforcement efforts, OSHA will work to identify establishments that failed to submit their 2022 Form 300A data.
Annual electronic submissions are required from establishments with 250 or more employees currently required to keep OSHA injury and illness records, and establishments with 20-249 employees classified in specific industries with historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. Not all establishments need to submit Form 300A data.
Establishments that are required to submit injury and illness data electronically, and have not yet done so, must submit their Form 300A to the ITA.
The EPA and Seal Shield, LLC Reach a Settlement for Alleged Violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Seal Shield, LLC (Seal Shield), headquartered in the state of Florida, for alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). As part of the settlement, Seal Shield will pay $321,000 in civil penalties. 
“The sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides and misbranded pesticide devices is unlawful and presents a risk of harm to people and the environment,” said Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “Users rely on accurate, up-to-date information about ingredients, directions for use, as well as hazards and safety precautions. This settlement sends a strong message to regulated companies who sell and distribute pesticides and devices to maintain compliance with FIFRA.”
Pursuant to FIFRA, products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or viruses on surfaces are considered pesticides and must be registered by the EPA prior to distribution or sale.
Based on an investigation by the EPA Region 4 office, the EPA determined that Seal Shield was making pesticidal claims for various products it was selling and distributing, including keyboards, computer mice and screen protectors. Seal Shield made public health claims that the keyboards, computer mice and screen protectors prevent the transmission of infections and viruses, including hospital acquired infections. Seal Shield had not registered these products with the EPA prior to selling and distributing them in violation of FIFRA. 
The EPA also concluded that Seal Shield sold a misbranded pesticide device, the ElectroClave UV Disinfection/Device Manager, that included false and misleading claims on its labeling. While pesticide devices are not required to be registered by the EPA, companies who sell or distribute them may not make any false or misleading claims, and all public health claims must be supported by scientific studies. 
The settlement agreement was filed and became effective on March 16, 2023, at the EPA’s regional office in Atlanta. Seal Shield must submit payment of the penalty to the U.S. Department of Treasury within 30 days of the effective date.
EPA Region 7 To Present Pollution Prevention Award to Grandview Cabinetry in Parsons, Kansas
Grandview Cabinetry in Parsons, Kansas, has been selected to receive an EPA Region 7 2022 Pollution Prevention Award.
Cabinet manufacturer Grandview Cabinetry is being recognized for their solvent and water conservation practices. The company implemented a solvent-recovery system that repurposes the solvent used while finishing cabinets to clean factory equipment. The system is estimated to save 1,000 gallons of solvent; 1,400 gallons of water; 3.3 tons of volatile organic compounds; and over $15,000 per year.
The award presentation and an informational session on the 2023 Pollution Prevention Award cycle will take place on April 11, 2023, at noon CDT. Registration is required.
“Grandview Cabinetry’s voluntary steps to reduce solvent and water use have decreased pollution while saving this family-owned business money,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “We’re proud to recognize this exemplary work with the EPA Region 7 2022 Pollution Prevention Award. Job well done!”
The Pollution Prevention Awards program is an annual, voluntary, and non-monetary recognition program. Those interested in applying for the 2023 award cycle can submit a complete application describing the organization's P2 efforts, activities, cost savings, pounds of hazardous chemicals reduced, energy conserved, or gallons of water saved, as well as the replicability of their approach. The 2023 award cycle application deadline is May 19, 2023. For information on the program and how to apply, visit EPA Region 7's P2 Recognition Awards page.
The United States produces billions of pounds of pollution each year and spends billions of dollars per year controlling this pollution. Preventing pollution at the source, also known as P2 or source reduction, rather than managing waste after it is produced is an important part of advancing a sustainable economic and environmental infrastructure. P2 can lessen exposure to toxic chemicals, conserve natural resources, and reduce financial costs for businesses, particularly costs associated with waste management, disposal, and cleanup. These practices are essential for protecting health, improving environmental conditions in and around disadvantaged communities, and preserving natural resources like wetlands, groundwater sources, and other critical ecosystems.
EPA’s P2 program is voluntary and encourages stakeholders to seek innovative ways to prevent pollution from entering waste streams through a competitive grant process and the provision of technical assistance to businesses.
NIOSH Studies Examine Inhalation Toxicity of Flavoring Compounds
A technical report published in March by the National Toxicology Program details a series of studies to evaluate the inhalation toxicity of acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione, which NTP describes as highly volatile components of artificial butter flavoring. Occupational exposures to 2,3-pentanedione and other substances used in artificial butter flavoring have been linked to decreased lung function and to the severe, irreversible lung disease obliterative bronchiolitis. Other health effects of occupational exposure to 2,3-pentanedione include irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.
According to NTP, both acetoin and 2,3-pentanedione are used as ingredients in synthetic flavoring formulations for food additives. 2,3-Pentanedione is used in some cases as a substitute for the flavoring compound diacetyl due to concerns about diacetyl’s respiratory toxicity. But 2,3-pentanedione is structurally similar to diacetyl, and “has been shown to exhibit potency similar to [diacetyl] regarding airway toxicity following acute inhalation (whole-body) exposure,” the NTP report explains.
Researchers conducted studies to evaluate the two‑week inhalation toxicity of acetoin and the three‑month inhalation toxicity of acetoin and 2,3‑pentanedione as administered to Wistar Han rats and B6C3F1/N mice. The rats and mice were exposed to the acetoin and 2,3‑pentanedione vapors via whole-body inhalation. No significant adverse effects related to exposure occurred among the rats and mice exposed to acetoin for two weeks or three months as part of this inhalation study. But researchers identified significant adverse effects—primarily in the respiratory tract but also in the eyes—in the rats and mice exposed to 2,3‑pentanedione for three months.
“The [no-observed-effect level (NOEL)] of 2,3-pentanedione for this study overall was 12.5 ppm on the basis of adverse respiratory tract effects in rats and mice,” NTP’s report concludes. “These 3-month inhalation exposure data, including NOELs for adverse respiratory tract effects, can inform regulatory agencies to help mitigate exposure risks to 2,3-pentanedione vapors in the workplace.”
NTP’s full report can be found on the program’s website. Additional information about NTP’s research on the components of artificial butter flavorings is also available.
Related: A NIOSH topic page on flavorings-related lung disease provides information about agency research and investigations focused on the microwave popcorn and flavorings manufacturing industries. In 2016, NIOSH researchers raised concerns that workers at coffee processing facilities are also at risk for lung disease caused by occupational exposure to diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione, which are naturally produced and released when coffee beans are roasted and when coffee is ground.
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