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Monday, January 07, 2008

Ace Hardware to pay $850,000 for air quality violations

Ace Hardware to pay $850,000 for air quality violations

Hardware giant caught second time selling polluting wiper fluid

SACRAMENTO - In its largest consumer product settlement ever,
the Air Resources Board recently fined Ace Hardware $850,000 for
selling windshield washer fluid in stores throughout the state
that failed to meet California air emissions requirements.

ARB cited the hardware chain for selling windshield fluid
throughout California that was specially formulated with higher
pollutants to prevent from freezing in the state's colder,
mountainous areas. From 2003 to 2007, Ace Hardware sold nearly
25,000 one-gallon containers of washer fluid with higher
volatile organic compound content in areas throughout the state
where it was not allowed, resulting in more than 20 tons of
excess emissions.


Volatile organic compounds, or "VOCs," react with other
pollutants and sunlight in the atmosphere to form ground-level
ozone and particulate matter, the main ingredients in smog. Both
pollutants can exacerbate asthma as well as respiratory and
cardiovascular ailments.

"We will continue our aggressive consumer products program to
protect Californians from harmful emissions," said ARB Chairman
Mary Nichols. "By selling cold weather wiper fluid in all areas
of the state, Ace Hardware needlessly sent 20 tons of smog and
soot-forming emissions into our imperiled skies. This sizable
settlement underscores our commitment to pursuing offenders who
don't follow through and correct problems."

Ace Hardware was cited previously by ARB in 2005 for selling
wiper fluid, resulting in a $40,000 settlement.

The ARB's Consumer Products Regulation specifies different VOC
limits for automotive windshield wiper fluid in California,
depending on the climate of the region. The limit is 35 percent
VOC by weight for mountainous areas that are subject to low
freezing temperatures, and one percent VOC for everywhere else
in the state. The higher limit is permitted in the coldest areas
of the state because more VOCs are needed to keep the fluid from
freezing.

Windshield wiper fluid is the only consumer product in
California that has two permissible VOC limits; all other
consumer products have only one limit they must meet to be sold
throughout the state.

The ARB's Consumer Products Program, which discovered the
violations in November 2006, works to reduce the amount of VOCs
emitted from the use of chemically formulated consumer products
in homes and institutions. This vast product category includes
detergents, cosmetics, disinfectants, automotive specialty
items, as well as lawn and garden products.

All settlement monies are paid to the California Air Pollution
Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources
of pollution through education and the advancement and use of
cleaner technology.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. 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.

Don't sell polluting wiper fluid , it could cost you $850k. Pretty ridiculous

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