HBD/Thermoid, which has a manufacturing operation in Chanute, has agreed to pay $130,000 fine for violations of the Clean Air Act and $241,075 to make plant improvements to reduce hazardous emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 7.
The EPA and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment were investigating higher levels of the organic solvent toluene found in the air in the Chanute area, which led them to HBD/Thermoid, according to a news release from the EPA.
The company violated federal air pollution limits between January 2011 and March 2012, with the potential to emit more than 10 tons per year of toluene, the release stated.
HBD primarily uses toluene as a solvent in the fabric coating operation of its hose and duct manufacturing process. Long-term exposure to toluene may result in damage to the nervous system, kidneys or liver.
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The company had no comment.