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California Company Faces TSCA Criminal Charges

A San Francisco Bay Area company, AK Scientific, has been indicted on a number of criminal charges, including — in a rare case of criminal enforcement — violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

With respect to the TSCA charges, AK Scientific allegedly failed to submit Section 12(b) export notifications and Section 13 import certifications for a substance regulated under a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR), and also allegedly failed to comply with the SNUR requirements. According to the United States Attorney’s Office press release, the particular SNUR allegedly at issue is found at 40 CFR Section § 721.4880. That SNUR imposes requirements for the substance methanol, trichloro-, carbonate (2:1). The SNUR requires, among other things, that the following statement be provided on the product label: “This substance may react to form phosgene gas. When using this substance, handle with extreme caution.” Failure to comply with this labeling or the other SNUR requirements would render the manufacture or importation of the substance as a “significant new use” requiring the submission of a Significant New Use Notice.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office press release, the company faces maximum penalties of 5 years probation and a $200,000 fine and the company owner, also indicted, faces maximum penalties of 1 year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Ms. Grimaldi maintains a diverse environmental law practice focusing on chemical and product regulation and litigation defense. Her practice areas include Proposition 65, California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations, California's Rigid Plastic Packaging Container Act and the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Ms. Grimaldi graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law magna cum laude and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Bacteriology from University of California, Davis. Prior to attending law school, she worked as a research assistant in laboratories at the University of California, San Francisco Cancer Research Institute and at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.