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FleetPride Inc. to pay $418,500 penalty for violating California air pollution laws
Distributor supplied windshield washer fluid products with illegal levels of smog-causing chemicals to truck stops and repair shops
SACRAMENTO - A Texas-based automotive products distributor has entered into a settlement agreement with the California Air Resources Board, agreeing to pay $418,500 in penalties for supplying illegal windshield washer fluid to retailers throughout the state.
The de-icing windshield washer fluid products distributed by FleetPride Inc. contained smog-causing chemicals at levels considered illegal in all areas of California. In most cases, the products contained concentrations of volatile organic compounds exceeding 25 percent, an upper limit for this type of product under a state consumer products regulation. Windshield washer fluid with a VOC content of 25 percent is allowed for sale only in the more mountainous areas of California that routinely experience freezing temperatures in winter.
The penalty in such cases, in which products exceed state limits for smog-forming VOCs, is based on the amount of excess VOCs emitted from the products. In this case, it is estimated that more than 31 tons of VOCs were emitted as a result of direct sales to consumers.
These compounds are regulated by the ARB because they react with other pollutants under sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a main ingredient in smog. VOCs are used in windshield washer fluid as an anti-freeze.
“It is important that the composition of windshield washer fluid meets ARB’s VOC limits established for the region where it is sold,” said Jim Ryden, ARB’s enforcement chief. “Our goal is to protect public health.”
During the course of an ARB investigation, it was discovered that FleetPride was distributing several windshield washer fluid products that do not comply with a state consumer products regulation ranging in size from 1-gallon containers found in small service stations, repair shops and other commercial outlets to 55-gallon drums supplied to truck stops. Krystal Kleer Windshield Washer Fluid 0˚F was among the products supplied to truck stops.
FleetPride signed the settlement agreement Feb. 7. The illegal products were in circulation approximately three years before they were discovered by an ARB staff member. The company later self-disclosed additional noncompliant products.
FleetPride has agreed to pay $418,500 in penalties under the settlement. The penalty goes to the California Air Pollution Control Fund to support projects and research to improve the state's air quality.
ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.