Toxic Chemicals Found in Beverage Packaging

July 26, 2021
A new report by the Toxic Free Food Campaign in partnership with Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab titled “Capped With Toxics” found toxic chemicals called ortho-phthalates in more than one-third of the 141 beverage brands tested. Market leaders are switching to safer bottle caps, but many brands are lagging behind. Prior research has linked ongoing exposure to phthalates during pregnancy and early childhood to reduced fertility and harm to brain development. Additionally, women, children and people of color face higher exposure and greater susceptiƒbility to phthalates.
“From the 273 products we tested, we found that phthalate use remains prevalent in beverage caps,” said Jeff Gearhart, Research Director at the Ecology Center.  
However, there are safer alternatives, and we hope that manufacturers will make the healthy choice and remove harmful chemicals from their products.”
Studies have shown that phthalates can migrate from the plastic cap liners into food and beverages that are packed in glass. The chemicals may also leave a residue on the rim of the bottle, which can be consumed. And when discarded, the bottle caps can also pollute the environment.
Dr. Leo Trasande, pediatrics professor and research scientist at New York University Langone Health stated: “It’s unfortunate to see a nongovernmental organization do what most consumers see as the FDA’s job. The health implications of phthalate exposures run across the life course, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease, with economic costs that drain our productivity. There are safer alternatives to these chemicals, and this report should spur efforts to mitigate this among other sources of environmental health disparities.”
The Toxic-Free Food Campaign, a national public health coalition of nonprofit organizations, has shared the bottle cap test results with 141 brands whose beverages were sampled. Several major brands have since switched to phthalate-free bottle caps including Brew Dr Kombucha, Whole Foods Market (sparkling mineral water), Keurig Dr Pepper (IBC and Stewart’s root beer, Snapple tea, Nantucket Nectar juice), and Maine Root (craft soda). Phthalate-free and vinyl-free caps are widely available.
“No bottled beverage should be capped with toxic plastic chemicals,” said Brandon Moore, National Campaign Director at Defend Our Health. “Beverage packaging is a matter of both environmental justice and environmental health. We applaud market leaders like Brew Dr Kombucha for switching to phthalate-free bottle caps with safer plastic liners, which are widely available. Now it’s time for market laggards like Martinelli’s to end its use of toxic bottle caps on its sparkling beverages.”
However, other beverage brands remain market laggards. For example, testing of the crown caps from four varieties of Martinelli’s sparkling apple and grape juice revealed the presence of phthalates in the plastic liners. The company has not responded to repeated offers of technical assistance and dialogue.
“Martinelli’s is a trusted brand, but finding harmful chemicals in their bottle caps is concerning and needs to be addressed,” said José Bravo, National Campaign Coordinator for the Campaign for Healthier Solutions (CHS), a group of over 200 health, science-based and environmental justice organizations focused on getting toxic chemicals out of products sold at dollar stores. “This should be an easy fix because there are many suppliers of non-toxic bottle caps.”
The Toxic-Free Food Campaign collected 273 bottle caps from 141 brands sold in glass bottles at retail locations in twelve U.S. states, Washington DC, and Toronto, Canada.
“Our lab testing identified the type of plastic in each cap gasket and the presence of chemical additives such as phthalates,” said Gillian Z. Miller, PhD, Senior Scientist with the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “We corroborated the results with third-party laboratory testing using certified methods.”
Of the beverages tested, the types that most frequently contained phthalates in the bottle cap liners were soda (52% of brands tested), kombucha (40%) and ready-to-drink coffee (38%). For certified organic beverages, 41% of brands had toxic bottle caps. In good news, the “Capped With Toxics” report found that more than one-third of the brands tested had bottle cap liners that were phthalate-free, and were not made of PVC (vinyl), often called the ‘poison plastic’ due to toxic hazards created across its lifecycle.
The Challenge of Capturing Carbon
In the race to combat climate change, capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions has been touted as a simple road to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. While the science behind carbon capture is sound, current technologies are expensive and not optimized for all settings. A cover story in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, highlights the current state of carbon capture and work being done to improve the process.
Although efficiency improvements and renewable power sources can help, they are often expensive and will not be enough to counter the billions of tons of CO2 sent into the atmosphere each year, writes Associate Editor Craig Bettenhausen. Carbon-capture technology, implemented at the source of CO2 emissions such as power plants, could largely negate those emissions. Despite its promise, only one commercial power plant is using this technology today. Interestingly, oil and gas companies — the main producers of CO2 emissions — are now unlikely allies of those who are developing capture methods, spurred by competition from cheap renewable energy and consumer demand for low-carbon options.
At present, the most common form of carbon capture uses solvents to absorb CO2 and let through other, less harmful gases. While this method is well understood, it requires up to 50% of a plant’s energy output, making it not a particularly “green” solution. Scientists are working to develop the next generation of carbon-capture technology, with solid sorbents and membranes showing promise. These materials require less energy and are already in use at some sites with concentrated CO2 emissions. The immediacy of the issue has prompted companies to begin developing other methods, including the use of cryogenics and metal-organic frameworks to absorb the gas. While the U.S. government is working with companies to subsidize carbon capture, critics say that it distracts from investing in renewable energy and regulating polluters. Progress is being made, but experts warn that the next decade will be the deciding period in which to find a solution to CO2 emissions.
Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban to Begin Oct. 1 in Washington
Washingtonians will begin to see fewer plastic bags littering the state’s roadsides, parks, and streams beginning Oct. 1 when the statewide plastic bag ban goes into effect. The bag ban prohibits the distribution of single-use plastic carry-out bags by restaurants, retail, small vendor, and grocery stores.
The ban was originally scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2021, but the limited availability of compliant bags prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to delay it through a proclamation. The proclamation was recently rescinded.
“Single-use plastic bags are not easily recyclable, which makes managing them at the end of their lives almost impossible,” said Laurie Davies, manager of Ecology’s Solid Waste Management Program. “Reducing their use will protect our rivers and streams, and help our recycling system run more efficiently.”
Plastic bags are a common form of pollution that threatens human health, wildlife, and the environment. Harmful chemicals are released when plastics are produced, used, incinerated, or slowly disintegrate into microscopic particles. Plastic bags are also a major contaminant in Washington’s recycling system that clog sorting machines and put worker safety at risk.
BYOB — Bring Your Own Bag: Ecology recommends people invest in reusable bags for groceries or to carry out food from restaurants. Like any reusable item, reusable bags should be washed and properly stored after each use.
If customers choose to use compliant plastic or paper bags offered by a merchant, the law requires the business charge 8 cents per bag. That 8-cent-charge is not a tax; it is a sale kept entirely by the merchant to provide an incentive for customers to bring their own bags and to recoup the costs for the more durable compliant bags.
Food banks and pantries, and individuals receiving food stamps, WIC, SNAP, or other government assistance are not subject to the 8-cent charge. Some single-use plastic bags are exempt from the law, including plastics to wrap meats and produce, bags for prescriptions, and newspaper or dry-cleaning bags.
Accessible toolkits available in 17 languages: Ecology is focused on education and communication with business owners. Helping all Washingtonians understand important details of the new law will benefit stores and customers, and ease the statewide transition to reusable bags. That’s why Ecology and partners developed an outreach toolkit formatted for accessibility and available in 17 languages.
Toolkits include a variety of materials that are customizable for individual restaurants and retailers, including flyers, Bring-Your-Own-Bag and point-of-sale signage, and web graphics. They are available for download in PDF and InDesign formats so they can be branded, printed, and shared by businesses and local governments.
Visit for more information, tools and resources, and a complete listing of requirements of Washington’s statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
Efforts to reduce single-use plastics: The Washington Legislature has been focused on reducing the use of single-use plastics in the state for several years. In 2021, a new law aimed at doing just that was passed. Ecology is implementing the new law. It will increase recycled content in bottles and trash bags, and drive development of new markets for Washington’s recyclable plastic.
Don’t Feed the Bears (Sorry Yogi)
Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray announced that Belinda J. Arvidson, 50, of  Idaho was ordered to pay $5,826.99 in restitution for improper food storage, a misdemeanor offense, in Grand Teton National Park. The sentence was handed down by United States Magistrate Judge Mark L. Carman in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, on July 20, 2021. Arvisdon will also serve four years of unsupervised release.
While camping in Grand Teton National Park, Arvidson failed to properly store garbage and beverages resulting in a grizzly bear receiving a food reward when it found the unattended garbage and drink at the campsite.  Individuals camping in the area took photos and videos of the grizzly bear while it was in Arvidson’s campsite rummaging through the trash and other food items. The campground contained multiple warning signs about bears and proper food storage as well as bear boxes in which food and other items could be stored.
Due to the bear receiving a food reward, upon locating the bear, it was tranquilized, collared, and relocated by boat to another area of the park.  It could pose a danger to humans if the bear were to have another similar incident, and euthanizing the bear may become necessary.  The amount of restitution to be paid by Arvisdon covers the National Park Service’s costs for this operation, including the cost of a GPS collar now necessary to track the bear’s movement.
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Chip Jenkins said, “Irresponsible behaviors have consequences, and many times it is the wildlife that pays the ultimate price. We all have responsibilities to preserve and protect the incredible wild animals of Grand Teton National Park and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.”
Grizzly bears and black bears thrive in Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Odors attract bears into parking lots, campgrounds, and picnic areas. All food and items with a smell must be stored in a bear-resistant food storage locker or in a hard-sided vehicle with the doors locked and windows closed day and night. Never store food, garbage, or toiletries in tents. For information about bear safety in Grand Teton National Park visit Safety in Bear Country - Grand Teton National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (
This crime was investigated by the National Park Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Hambrick. For questions relating to Grant Teton National Park, please contact Denise Germann at or 307-739-3393.
Companies Fined Almost $1 Million for Nitrogen Gas Deaths
On Jan. 28, 2021, six workers went to work at a Gainesville poultry processing facility unaware that they would not return home. Just after their shift began, a freezer at the plant malfunctioned, releasing colorless, odorless liquid nitrogen into the plant’s air, displacing the oxygen in the room.
Three of the plant’s maintenance workers entered the freezer room without precautions – never trained on the deadly effects of nitrogen exposure – and were overcome immediately. Other workers entered the room and were also overcome. The three maintenance workers and two other workers died immediately, a sixth died on the way to the hospital. At least a dozen other injured workers needed hospital care.
“Six people’s deaths, and injuries suffered by at least a dozen others, were entirely avoidable,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. “The Department of Labor is dedicated to upholding the law and using everything in our power to get justice for the workers’ families. The bottom line is no one should leave for work wondering if they’ll return home at the end of the day, and the Department of Labor is committed to holding bad actors accountable.
OSHA investigated the incident, and found that Foundation Food Group Inc. and Messer LLC of Bridgewater, New Jersey, failed to implement any of the safety procedures necessary to prevent the nitrogen leak, or to equip workers responding to it with the knowledge and equipment that could have saved their lives. OSHA cited Foundation Food Group, Messer LLC, Packers Sanitation Services Inc. Ltd. of Kieler, Wisconsin; and FS Group Inc. of Albertville, Alabama – all responsible for operations at the Gainesville facility – for a total of 59 violations and proposed $998,637 in penalties.
“This horrible tragedy could have been prevented had the employers taken the time to use – and teach their workers the importance of – safety precautions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta. “Instead, six workers died as a result of their employers’ failure to follow necessary procedures and to comply with required safety and health standards. We hope other industry employers learn from this terrible incident and comply with safety and health requirements to prevent similar incidents.”
OSHA cited Foundation Food Group Inc. for 26 violations, including six willful violations for exposing workers to thermal injuries and suffocation hazards resulting from the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; failing to develop, document and use lockout procedures; not informing employees that liquid nitrogen, an asphyxiate, was used in the onsite freezer; not training employees on the methods and observations used to detect the presence or release of nitrogen; failing to train workers on the hazards of liquid nitrogen, and not training employees on the emergency procedures they can take to protect themselves. In addition, the employer failed to:
  • Provide workers with access to the safety data sheet on liquid nitrogen, or label the freezers properly with hazard warnings.
  • Perform a hazard assessment for exposure to liquid nitrogen.
  • Implement a permit-required confined space program for workers who entered the liquid nitrogen freezer, and notify contractors required to work inside the liquid nitrogen freezer that it was a permit-required confined space.
  • Make sure multiple egress paths in the facility were free from obstruction.
  • Illuminate exit signs, provide adequate lighting for exit routes, and ensure exit access was at least 28 inches wide.
As a result of these violations, Foundation Food Group faces $595,474 in penalties.
OSHA also cited Messer LLC, which delivered the industrial gas, for six serious violations. The agency found Messer exposed workers to injuries and suffocation from the uncontrolled release of liquid nitrogen; failed to ensure an egress path was unobstructed; and did not develop, document and use lockout procedures, nor ensure lockout procedures were shared between the host employer and contractors. Messer faces $74,118 in penalties.
The agency cited Packers Sanitation Services Inc. Ltd., which provided cleaning and sanitation services at the facility, for 17 serious, and two repeat violations for failing to train workers on the hazards of liquid nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia, and not ensuring emergency eye washes were available and unobstructed. OSHA cited the employer in 2017 and 2018 for similar violations. In addition, OSHA found Packers failed to:
  • Train workers on the emergency procedures related to liquid nitrogen and anhydrous ammonia, and provide workers with access to the data sheet on liquid nitrogen.
  • Ensure egress paths were unobstructed.
  • Ensure exit signs were illuminated, and provide adequate lighting for exit routes.
  • Implement a written permit space entry program.
  • Make sure that adequate lockout procedures were used.
  • Coordinate lockout procedures with Foundation Food Group.
As a result of these violations, Packers Sanitation Services faces $286,720 in penalties.
OSHA also cited FS Group Inc., which manufactures equipment and provides mechanical servicing, for eight serious violations for failing to train workers on the physical and health hazards of liquid nitrogen and emergency procedures related to liquid nitrogen. The company also failed to ensure the development and use of specific written lockout procedures and ensure that the host employer and contractors shared information on lockout procedures. FS Group Inc. faces $42,325 in penalties.
Foundation Food Group Inc. provides fully and pre-cooked poultry products to food service and retail clients, and national restaurant chains.
D&D Manufacturing, Inc. Fined $412K for Willfully Exposed Workers to Amputation Dangers
An El Paso metal stamping manufacturer with a history of workplace safety violations failed again to protect its workers from the dangers of moving machine parts. As a result, a worker suffered the amputation of two fingers inside a 500-ton hydraulic
OSHA inspected D&D Manufacturing Inc. in January 2021 and cited the facility for two willful, 12 serious and three other than serious violations. OSHA proposed penalties totaling $412,750.
“The willful and serious violations identified in this inspection show D&D Manufacturing Inc. continues to ignore required worker safety protections. Moving machine parts have the potential to cause severe injuries when they are not properly guarded and safety procedures are absent,” said OSHA Area Director Diego Alvarado, Jr. in El Paso, Texas.
OSHA found the company failed to use required machine guards to prevent employees from coming into contact with machines’ operating parts; did not conduct periodic and regular inspections, resulting in machine malfunctions; and failed to ensure that each affected employee used appropriate protective eye or face equipment and hearing protection.
Previous OSHA inspections at D&D have identified significant safety and health concerns. In 2014, OSHA cited the plant for 34 serious and other-than-serious violations. The company was cited twice in 2015 for a total of four willful, six serious and three other-than-serious violations.
Headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois, D&D Manufacturing has more than 400 employees in Bolingbrook, El Paso and in Mexico. The El Paso plant has approximately 60 employees.
Dakota Access Pipeline Cited by DOT
Two days before a group of Tribal allies are scheduled to arrive at Standing Rock with a 25-foot totem pole for a solidarity event with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a federal regulatory agency has hit the pipeline operator with an enforcement action over a series of alarming safety violations.
The DOT’s Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is responsible for overseeing pipeline safety, fined DAPL and put the company on notice for a list of violations ranging from neglecting safety repairs on release valves, to failing to properly analyze the volume and impact of an oil spill in densely populated, or “high-consequence,” areas. The enforcement action drew an immediate response from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which submitted a court filing to alert a federal judge to the recent developments.
In its filing, the Corps noted that it is reviewing the enforcement action as part of its “ongoing consideration of whether and how the Corps will enforce its property rights,” a reference to the Corps’ permit to Energy Transfer to operate DAPL beneath Lake Oahe, a dammed portion of the Missouri River where the Corps has jurisdiction. A federal district judge has already invalidated that permit because it was issued without a proper environmental review. But so far, the Army Corps under President Biden has used its discretion to allow the line to continue operating anyway.
“It’s not surprising to learn that the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline has failed to adhere to a long list of safety regulations,” said vice chairman Ira Taken Alive of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, in response to the news. “An oil spill from this pipeline would be devastating to our drinking water supply and that of millions of people downstream, placing us all in harm’s way. That’s why we have opposed DAPL from the very beginning and fought its continued operation at every turn.”
“This is a rogue operator with a history of shoddy operations, and the Biden administration should step in to shut down this pipeline before it’s too late,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman, who has represented the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in litigation against DAPL for more than five years.
On July 24, Indigenous travelers on a cross-country journey known as the Red Road to D.C. will stop at Standing Rock with a 25-foot, 5,000-pound totem pole created by Lummi master carvers for a solidarity event with the Tribe. The journey is meant to highlight and protect sacred places that Tribal nations have fought to preserve in the face of threats from extractive industry. On July 29, Standing Rock representatives will offer comments at the Red Road to D.C. event celebrating the totem pole’s arrival to Washington, D.C.
12-Inch Hole in Containment & Other FIFRA Violations Cost Simplot $65K
The J.R. Simplot Company has agreed to pay a $65,248 penalty for violations of federal pesticide handling and storage requirements at its storage and retail facilities in Umatilla, Oregon and Moreland, Idaho.
An inspection of a storage warehouse at the Umatilla facility where the company stored bulk quantities of the pesticides Gramoxone SL 2.0 and Vydate revealed a 12-inch hole in the floor of the facility’s containment structure, which would have allowed any liquid spilled on  the warehouse floor to contaminate the ground underneath the warehouse.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, discharge outlets and gravity drains through the base or wall of an existing containment structure must be sealed to prevent migration of pesticides outside of the structure and minimize the possibility of environmental harm.
An inspection of the Moreland facility found two large containers with leaking gaskets on hatch covers that allowed the pesticide Vapam HL to leak out and spill onto the floor of its outdoor containment. The company failed to remove the spilled pesticide which then solidified on the ground, creating a potentially hazardous situation where employees could be exposed to the pesticide.
FIFRA requires all stationary pesticide containers to be resistant to extreme temperature changes, constructed of materials that are adequately thick to not fail and resistant to corrosion, and capable of withstanding all operating stresses. The law further requires that leaks on or in any containment structure be collected and recovered no later than the end of the day on which pesticides have been spilled or leaked.
"Pesticides facilities have a responsibility to ensure their products are safely stored so that the people working there and living nearby are not exposed to potentially dangerous chemicals," said Ed Kowlaski, Director of EPA Region 10’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division.
Large Penalties for EPCRA Tier II Reporting Violations at Cold Storage Facilities
The following settlements, reached under Section 312 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), are part of EPA’s nationwide campaign to protect unfairly burdened communities and reduce or eliminate accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities sited in or near neighborhoods similar to those in Zillah and Yakima.
Each facility owner or operator has agreed to pay a penalty as part of these settlements:
Company: Stadelman Fruit LLC
Penalty: $238,875
  • 1st Avenue, Zillah, Washington
  • Cheyne Road, Zillah, Washington
  • Bella Terra Road, Zillah, Washington
  • West Northstone Parkway, Zillah, Washington
Company: Hollingbery and Sons, Inc.
Penalty: $21,600
Facility: North 1st Avenue, Yakima, Washington
Company: Hollingbery CA and Cold Storage LLC
Penalty: $96,600
Facilities: North 1st Avenue, Yakima, Washington (3 facilities )
All of these facilities use Anhydrous Ammonia for Refrigerated Cold Storage. Because Anhydrous Ammonia can cause serious, often irreversible health effects when released, it is considered an Extremely Hazardous Substance. Under EPCRA, Anhydrous Ammonia has a 500-lb. reporting and planning requirement threshold. In addition to its potential harmful health effects from inhalation and skin contact, Anhydrous Ammonia is highly flammable.
EPCRA Section 312 requires companies to file hazardous chemical inventory report forms with the State Emergency Response Commission, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and the local Fire Department each year by March 1st.
Timely, accurate reporting helps protect responders and surrounding communities in the event of an accidental, uncontrolled release of hazardous chemicals.
CAA General Duty Clause Used to Cite Company for Ammonia and Environmental Justice Hazards
MDV SpartanNash LLC will pay a $47,429 penalty to resolve alleged Clean Air Act violations at its food distribution center in Norfolk, Virginia, the EPA announced. The agency cited the company for violating the General Duty Clause, Section 112r(1) of the Clean Air Act, which makes the owners and operators of facilities that have regulated and other extremely hazardous substances responsible for ensuring that their chemicals are managed safely.
Specifically, EPA alleged that MDV SpartanNash failed to take necessary steps to prevent releases by failing to install appropriate alarms, failing to properly seal around ammonia refrigeration pipes, and failing to inspect and repair pipe insulation and more.
The facility is in a community considered to be in an area of potential environmental justice concern. This settlement will benefit the surrounding community by reducing the potential release of hazardous substances.
As part of the settlement, the company has certified that it is now in compliance with applicable requirements.
$82,000 Penalty for Storm Water Violations
The EPA has settled a series of alleged industrial storm water violations under the federal Clean Water Act by Fought & Company, Inc, located in Tigard, Oregon.  Fought & Company, Inc. agreed to pay a civil penalty of $82,000 to resolve EPA’s allegations. 
Fought & Company, Inc. fabricates structural steel components for large-scale construction projects such as bridges, high-rises, stadiums, and industrial buildings.  During storm events, the facility discharges storm water offsite and into nearby Fanno Creek.
An EPA inspection at the facility in 2019 found Fought & Company, Inc. had a deficient Storm water Pollution Control Plan, failed to properly implement corrective actions and failed to monitor all storm water discharge points.
In addition to paying a civil penalty, Fought and Company, Inc. has agreed to conduct a storm water evaluation period, revise and update its Storm water Pollution Control Plan, and install additional treatment capacity at its facility to address excess zinc discharges. These improvements are expected to improve Fought & Company’s storm water discharge to Fanno Creek. For additional case details, see the signed Consent Agreement and Final Order.
Managing storm water responsibly at industrial facilities prevents erosion and protects local water quality. Uncontrolled storm water runoff can cause serious problems for people and the environment by introducing polluted water into nearby waters, cause sediment choked rivers and streams; intensify flooding and property damage; reduce fishing and swimming opportunities, and in some extreme cases, threaten public drinking water systems.
Marathon Pipe Line, LLC, Henrichs Drainage, Inc. and Brad Orr Cited for Fuel Spill
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) has referred an enforcement action to the Illinois Attorney General's Office against Marathon Pipe Line LLC, Henrichs Drainage, Inc., and Brad Orr for a release of unleaded gasoline from a pipeline buried in a farm field near Gilman (Iroquois County). The referral cites violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act related to the release of gasoline.
On July 14, 2021, a representative of Marathon contacted the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to report an accidental release of unleaded gasoline containing 10% ethanol from a Marathon pipeline. The release occurred when a third party, Henrichs, hired by tenant farmer Brad Orr, hit the 12-inch Wabash pipeline while attempting to lay field tile. Henrichs reported the release to Marathon, cut the active tile, and dug a trench to stop the flow of gasoline into the tile. At that time of the initial report, the release was estimated at 1,000 barrels. Emergency responders were notified, and Illinois EPA staff arrived on site.
Booms were installed in an unnamed agricultural ditch leading to Spring Creek, which was approximately two and one-half miles from the release location. No contamination was visible at Spring Creek, as 14 sets of booms and two underflow dams had been placed in the ditch. On July 16, the estimate of barrels released was increased to 1,200 barrels, which will be reevaluated after 30 days. Marathon also sampled private wells at six homes, located within a one-mile radius of the release.  The private wells were sampled for benzene, toluene, ethylene, and xylene. No contaminants of concern were detected. Additional samples will be taken at two weeks and four weeks from the first set.
In the referral the Illinois EPA alleges Marathon, Henrichs, and Brad Orr have caused, threatened, or allowed the discharging of contaminants so as to cause or tend to cause water pollution, and deposited contaminants upon the land so as to create a water pollution hazard. Additional violations may be added as the Agency gathers more information. The referral asks the Attorney General's Office to obtain an order requiring the defendants to continue implementing response actions including the removal and proper disposal of all contaminated soils, development and implementation of a surface water and sediment sampling plan from the ditch to Spring Creek, additional sampling of private groundwater wells, additional surface water sampling, and confirmation sampling to determine that the response is complete.
Mobile Dredging Equipment Manufacturer Cited After Investigation into 22-Year-Old Worker’s Death
On Jan. 27, a 22-year-old apprentice atop a crane bridge 30 feet in the air suffered fatal injuries when he became caught in a crane trolley’s drive shaft, a tragedy that federal inspectors say could have been prevented.
The Alabama resident, part of a five-man team employed by SPI/Mobile Pulley Works Inc. to repair a 50-ton hoist, was guiding a heavy steel cable onto a hoist drum when the incident occurred. OSHA inspectors determined the employer failed to ensure workers were removed from the structure of the crane, or otherwise out of the path of moving components while the crane was in operation.
OSHA’s inspection led to 11 serious and two other-than-serious violations for the Mobile-based dredging equipment manufacturer. Inspectors found the company failed to provide a workplace free from hazards and exposed them to caught-in and crushed-by hazards that would likely cause death or serious physical harm. OSHA also identified the following violations:
  • Allowed employees to work near unguarded equipment, which exposed them to struck-by and caught-in hazards.
  • Failed to conduct periodic inspections of the crane.
  • Exposed workers to respiratory hazards by requiring employees to wear half-mask negative pressure respirators without proper fit tests, and did not provide training on respirator use to minimize the number of employees exposed to respirable crystalline silica.
  • Failed to provide proper training on fall protection systems, exposing workers to fall hazards.
  • Failed to inspect alloy steel chain slings used for rigging.
OSHA proposed $89,141 in penalties. “Heavy industrial work can be hazardous and employers must follow workplace safety standards to avoid serious injuries and, in this case, tragedy,” said OSHA Area Director Jose A. Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “The terrible loss for this young man’s family and friends is deepened by the knowledge that this incident could have been prevented.”
Learn more about crane, derrick and hoist safetyfall and respiratory protection.
Janiec Roofing, Inc. Fined 600K for Ignoring 2020 OSHA Settlement Agreement
A Bergen County, NJ contractor who agreed to make safety improvements after federal safety inspections in 2019 identified nine violations with proposed penalties of $121,687 has instead violated its settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. Following inspections in 2020 and 2021, the company now faces $600,741 in penalties for 10 more violations.
On Nov. 13, 2020, Janiec Roofing Inc. of Lodi entered into a settlement agreement with OSHA after two 2019 inspections identified significant infractions related to fall protection and other safety issues. The company agreed to establish a comprehensive written safety and health program, provide training to managers and workers and create daily safety checklists to identify and remove any hazards.
OSHA’s follow-up inspection in 2021 determined that Janiec Roofing failed to comply with the agreement and continued to expose workers to dangerous safety hazards. The agency proposed an additional $180,220 in penalties and cited the company with one failure-to-abate violation for not complying with the settlement agreement terms and not submitting documentation required to show compliance.
Prior to the follow-up inspection, OSHA conducted two other inspections of Janiec Roofing as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for fall hazards in construction. In December 2020, inspectors found employees working on a residential roof project in Paramus without proper fall protection. In January 2021, OSHA visited a Janiec work site in Saddle Brook where inspectors identified unsafe use of ladders and failures to ensure that workers used head, eye and fall protection. These two inspections resulted in two willful, four repeat and three serious citations and $420,521 in penalties.
“Janiec Roofing’s failure to honor its agreement with OSHA and knowingly put workers at risk of serious injuries or worse is inexcusable,” said OSHA Area Director Lisa Levy in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. “Intentional disregard of federal law will not be tolerated and OSHA will not hesitate to hold employers accountable when they ignore their legal responsibility and jeopardize the well-being of their hard-working employees.”
Based in Lodi, Janiec Roofing Inc. performs roof installation, restoration, maintenance and repairs in Northern New Jersey. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Propane Heater Recalled Due to Burn Hazard
The One Stop Gardens 15,000 BTU Tank Top Propane Heater (Item #63073) and the One Stop Gardens 30,000 BTU Tank Top Propane Heater (Item #63072) distributed by Harbor Freight have been recalled due to a burn hazard. In windy weather, the flame can be directed to the rear of the unit, which can melt the “tip switch” safety shut off feature at the rear of the heater. This poses a risk that the heater will not turn off if it tips over and poses a burn hazard to consumers.
The heaters are designed to mount on top of a standard 20 lb. propane tank, and have an “easy start” with variable heat control valve, high efficiency heat reflector, and safety shutoff. The heaters, which were made in China, were sold nationwide and online at from December 2015 through April 2021 for about $45 for the 15,000 BTU model and about $75 for the 30,000 BTU model.
If you have one of these heaters, you should stop using it and return it to your local Harbor Freight Tools store for a full refund of the purchase price, plus applicable tax, in the form of a Harbor Freight Tools gift card. Harbor Freight Tools is contacting all known purchasers directly.
Recent Oregon DEQ Environmental Violations
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued 14 penalties totaling $1,192,745 in June for various environmental violations.
Fines ranged from $2,400 to $1,023,054. Alleged violations included a tanning business illegally disposing of tanning lamps containing mercury, a proposed natural gas facility failing to implement stormwater control plans during road construction activities, and a glass manufacturer emitting more air pollution than allowed by its air quality permit.
DEQ issued civil penalties to the following organizations:
  • CFMW, LLC - Columbia Forge, $36,105, Portland, stormwater
  • City of Coburg, $4,200, Coburg, wastewater
  • Evergreen State Holdings, $9,000, Grass Valley, hazardous waste
  • Fishhawk Fisheries Inc., $6,200, Astoria, wastewater
  • Next Generation Tanning, LLC, $15,200 , Turner , hazardous waste
  • Oldcastle Precast, Inc., $21,920, Wilsonville, stormwater
  • Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., $1,023,054, Portland, air quality
  • Paul M. Vettrus, $23,485, Turner, solid waste/hazardous waste/asbestos
  • Perennial Windchaser, LLC, $14,585, Hermiston, stormwater
  • Rare Earth Resources LLC, $6,400, Halfway, wastewater
  • Rose Garden Inn (Leah D. Pierce), $2,400, Drain, onsite wastewater
  • Sunriver Airport LLC, $12,396, Sunriver, stormwater
  • Threat Dynamics LLC, $12,800, Sherwood, hazardous waste
  • Trustin Construction LLC, $5,000, Tigard, asbestos
Organizations or individuals must either pay the fines or file an appeal within 20 days of receiving notice of the penalty. They may be able to offset a portion of a penalty by funding a supplemental environmental project that improves Oregon’s environment.
Free Amazon HD 10 Tablet with RCRA and DOT Training
Annual training is required by 40 CFR 262.17(a)(7).  Learn how to complete EPA’s new electronic hazardous waste manifest, and the more than 60 changes in EPA’s new Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.  Environmental Resource Center’s Hazardous Waste Training is available at nationwide locations, and via live webcasts.  If you plan to also attend DOT hazardous materials training, call 800-537-2372 to find out how can get your course materials on an Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet at no extra charge.
Job Openings at Environmental Resource Center
Environmental Resource Center has openings for EHS consultants and trainers. If you are looking for a new challenge, send your resume and salary requirements to Brian Karnofsky at
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