On September 5, 2023, EPA signed a consent agreement with Kyocera International, Inc. (“Kyocera”) over three alleged violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Kyocera’s civil penalty was reduced to $105,937 because of EPA’s audit policy, which rewards companies that “voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously correct” violations with reduced fines.
The alleged violations, which pertain to six unnamed chemicals (Chemicals A, B, C, D, E, and F), are as follows:
- Importation of Chemical A at least 12 times, Chemical B at least 21 times, and Chemical C at least 18 times without first filing a premanufacture notice (PMN) or an exemption to PMN requirements, in violation of TSCA section 5(a)(1);
- Failure to comply with recordkeeping requirements for Chemical D and E’s polymer exemptions to PMN requirements, in violation of TSCA section 5(a)(1); and
- Importation of Chemical A at least 12 times, Chemical B at least 21 times, and Chemical C at least 18 times without submission of proper certifications prior to the importation, and importation of Chemical F three times without providing a positive TSCA certification statement for each import, in violation of TSCA section 13(a)(1)(B).
The electronics manufacturer corrected the alleged violations by ceasing importation of Chemicals A, B, C, and D, submitting low-volume exemptions to PMN requirements for Chemicals B and C (which were granted by the Agency), and complying with the polymer exemption requirements for Chemical D. Under the terms of the settlement, EPA gave Kyocera permission to release its self-imposed quarantined stocks of Chemicals B, C, and D.
Kyocera self-disclosed the violations on June 23, 2021, with supplemental information provided in March 2023. The company disclosure and subsequent corrective action satisfied all of EPA’s audit policy conditions except the requirement that the violations be uncovered by “systematic discovery” and was therefore eligible for a 75% reduction in the gravity-based portion of the civil penalty.
The consent decree comes after a June 30, 2022, EPA Inspector General report which found that eDisclosure, EPA’s violation self-disclosure system, “does not have adequate internal controls in place to ensure that the EPA’s screening process is effective and that significant concerns . . . are identified and addressed.” EPA agreed with all four of the report’s recommendations and proposed corrective actions, including the development of national guidance and eDisclosure-specific training for EPA staff who monitor eDisclosure submissions.