A Northbridge company will pay a $127,000 penalty and limit air pollution emissions from its manufacturing plant for violating clean air standards, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice.
Polyfoam, Inc. uses expandable polystyrene beads – which emit volatile organic compounds that are a main cause of smog - to create products such as insulated food-shipping containers and protective foam packaging for electronic appliances.
The federal government says that Polyfoam miscalculated and underreported its VOC emissions from at least 2002 to the present. Polyfoam’s actual VOC emissions exceeded 50 tons per year in each of these years, in violation of the company’s state air permits. Polyfoam also triggered federal Clean Air Act requirements for state-of-the-art pollution limits that the company failed to meet.
Under the settlement, which still requires court approval, Polyfoam will install a pollution control system that will ireduce VOC emissions by about 85 percent.
Smog and ground-level ozone, which is also caused by VOC, can aggravate asthma and damage lung cells and may cause permanent lung damage.
Massachusetts does not meet EPA’s national ozone standards and Polyfoam’s excess VOC emissions have contributed to Massachusetts’ failure to meet them, the U.S. EPA says.
About the green blog
Helping Boston live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.
Christopher Reidy covers business for the Globe.
Doug Struck covers environmental issues from Boston.
Glenn Yoder produces Boston.com's Lifestyle pages.
Eric Bauer is site architect of Boston.com.
Bennie DiNardo is the Boston Globe's deputy managing editor/multimedia.
Dara Olmsted is a local sustainability professional focusing on green living.