The company allegedly pumped more than 18,000 lbs per year of toluene—a solvent for stains and paints that can affect the human nervous system, kidneys, liver, and heart if inhaled—into the air during a four-year period from 2005 to 2009.
The EPA said Oregon Door “repeatedly exceeded emissions of toluene as allowed by state and federal air regulations.” The discharge also exceeded the limit set by the company's air contaminant discharge permit, according to the EPA.
Toluene emissions are regulated under the Clean Air Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act. According to the EPA, Oregon Door also failed to report its 2007 toluene emissions to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory, and lacked a Clean Air Act Title V permit, required of major sources of air pollutants.
“Permit limits control what we’re putting in our air,” says Scott Downey, manager of the Air Compliance Unit at the EPA Seattle office, in a press release. “Reporting chemicals is crucial to having accurate numbers about chemical usage.”
The EPA says the company took steps to correct the emissions, and in its own press release, Oregon Door wrote that it "cooperated fully with the EPA," after the government agency issued a Notice of Violation in 2012. "The necessary steps were taken as quickly as possible and were completed some time ago," says Brian Bennett, Oregon Door's vice president and general manager in an email. "These steps consisted primarily of working with suppliers to re-formulate the products used in our process."