(Washington, D.C. – Sept. 05, 2006) EPA has ordered five national retail chains to pull from their shelves cans of illegally imported confetti string products that contain banned hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These substances deplete the earth’s protective stratospheric ozone layer and increase the risk of skin cancer. Millions of cans of these novelty items, all imported from China or Taiwan and known by various names such as Zany String, Crazy String, and Party Streamer, have been sold illegally in the United States.
Dollar Tree, American Greetings, Inc., Dollar General, Target, and Too, Inc. (which owns Limited Too) have complied with EPA’s orders by taking the banned products off their shelves and shipping them to a commercial incinerator for destruction. More than 2.7 million cans will be incinerated under EPA’s compliance orders. The companies have also agreed to audit their operations and adopt new policies to ensure that these problems do not arise again.
“EPA banned HCFC propellants in spray cans more than a decade ago. Now, we are seeing imports of these products from overseas manufacturers that claim their products comply with American laws,” said Granta Y. Nakayama, EPA’s assistant administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We are pleased that these retail companies signed these compliance orders with EPA to ensure that these products will not be available to consumers and the ozone-depleting substances they contained will never make it into our environment.”
HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, when emitted, drift up and attack the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, which protects human and animal life from the sun’s harmful radiation — a situation which could lead to increased incidences of skin cancer, cataracts, and crop damage. The United States, in cooperation with over 185 other countries, is phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances in an effort to safeguard the ozone layer. (Stratospheric ozone is not related to the issue of ground-level ozone or smog.)
For more information on HCFCs and these enforcement orders: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/caa/confettistring.html
EPA’s mission is to protect our nation’s land, air and water. Citizens can help by reporting potential environmental violations at: http://www.epa.gov/tips