Huntington Beach, CA, January 14th, 2022
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement for alleged violations of Clean Air Act chemical safety requirements with a corporation based in California that grows, packs, and ships grapes. The alleged violations pertain to the facility’s anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system that is used for grape packing and storage. Under the terms of the consent agreement and final order with EPA, the company will pay over $188,000 in civil penalties and make significant safety improvements to the facility to ensure protection of the public and first responders from dangerous chemicals.
According to the EPA announcement:
Thousands of facilities nationwide make, use, and store extremely hazardous substances, including anhydrous ammonia. Catastrophic accidents at ammonia refrigeration facilities - historically about 150 each year - result in fatalities and serious injuries, evacuations, and other harm to human health and the environment. EPA inspects these facilities as part of the Agency’s National Compliance Initiative, which seeks to reduce risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of accidental releases and mitigating the consequences of chemical accidents.
Ammonia is a chemical compound that is both made by humans and can be found naturally in the environment. A significant amount of ammonia is produced for use as fertilizer. It is also used as an industrial refrigerant and to manufacture synthetic fibers, plastics, explosives, and other materials.
“Industries that utilize, manufacture or process ammonia need to protect their employees, nearby communities, and the environment from exposure to this potentially hazardous chemical,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “Occupational exposure to ammonia typically occurs through inhalation or skin contact. It is corrosive and exposure to high concentrations can be fatal.”
In California, LA Testing offers industrial hygiene and environmental laboratory testing services and sampling supplies to detect ammonia and other chemical exposure risks. These services help to safeguard workers, the environment, and help to keep companies in regulatory compliance. Several years ago, LA Testing sponsored an educational video about ammonia and exposure risks that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/JX6wPV4JHJ4
To learn more about this or other industrial hygiene, environmental, health and safety services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash, and smoke damage, particulates, and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health, and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro, San Diego, and Ontario.