The agreement resolves an EPA complaint alleging that Formel uses inks in its printing process that exceed state standards for volatile organic compound content.
"As its environmental project, Formel has installed a thermal oxidizer to destroy VOCs," said EPA Regional Administrator Thomas V. Skinner. "This will cut smog levels and protect the health of all of us living in the Chicago area."
Purchase and installation of the thermal oxidizer cost Formel $344,000. The company agreed to operate it for at least 15 years at a cost of $10,000 per year. If, for any reason, the company decides not to use its thermal oxidizer, it will have to use inks that comply with state standards.
Companies that violate the Clean Air Act may voluntarily propose environmental projects as part of their settlements. EPA may reduce monetary penalties if it believes a project will cut pollution significantly and goes beyond what is required by EPA regulations.
Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, or smog. Smog is formed when a mixture of air pollutants is baked in the hot summer sun. Smog can cause a variety of respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest pain. Asthmatics, children and the elderly are especially at risk.