FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   ENR
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1994                                   (202) 616-0189
                                                         TDD (202) 514-1888
                              EPA/Gwendolyn Brown  (202) 260-1384


     The U.S. government today filed a civil action against
Borden Chemicals and Plastics Operating Limited Partnership and
two related Borden entities to compel Borden to clean up a
release of cancer-causing and other hazardous contaminants into
the groundwater at its Geismar, La., facility.  The action also
seeks a multi-million dollar penalty for the illegal shipment of
hundreds of thousands of pounds of hazardous waste to South
Africa and the operation of unpermitted hazardous waste
facilities, including an incinerator.  The lawsuit, brought under
federal hazardous waste and clean air laws, will also force
Borden Chemicals to comply fully with all environmental statutes.
     The Geismar facility manufactures chemicals, including vinyl
chloride, ammonia, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used
for production of plastic pipes and other plastic products.  The
facility is located on the Mississippi River, in a highly
industrialized area, with a predominantly African-American
     "The Clinton Administration is committed to making sure that
no company will realize unfair profits from polluting anywhere in
the U.S., but particularly in minority and low-income communities
that already face disproportionate risks," said EPA Administrator
Carol M. Browner.
     "This case will send the message that those who attempt to
circumvent the hazardous waste laws do so at their peril," said
U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.  "For years, Borden stored and
disposed of large quantities of hazardous waste in violation of
the law.  Such practices can only be stopped with vigorous
     The complaint against Borden Chemical and Plastics includes
a claim for "corrective action" under the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act (RCRA), under which the U.S. will be seeking to
force Borden to evaluate the extent of, and clean up,
contamination of the groundwater.  EPA has already determined
that the contaminants that have been released to the groundwater
at the Geismar facility include vinyl chloride, a known
carcinogen, and ethylene dichloride, a probable carcinogen.  In
addition, the lawsuit alleges that Borden operated a hazardous
waste incinerator and other hazardous waste units without RCRA
     The United States also alleges that Borden shipped over
300,000 pounds of hazardous waste to a Thor Chemicals facility
located in South Africa without notifying EPA as required by
RCRA.  These violations prevented EPA from properly verifying
that the shipments were identified as hazardous waste and whether
or not South Africa consented to accept the hazardous waste.  The
Borden shipments went to the Thor Chemicals facility purportedly
for recycling, but little or none of the waste was actually
recycled.  Borden has already publicly acknowledged that
approximately 2,500 barrels containing mercury and vinyl chloride
wastes were found at the Thor facility with Borden labels.
     "Environmental pollution does not stop at U.S. borders, and
we will use all of our enforcement authorities against those who
engage in the illegal international hazardous waste trade.  By
doing so, we will protect people from mismanaged wastes generated
in the United States, and eliminate any competitive advantage
illegal exporters gain at the expense of U.S. companies that
comply with our environmental laws," Browner said.
     The complaint also alleges that Borden failed to meet
Louisiana's standards for controlling the emission into the air
of urea particulates, or dust-like particles.  Particulate
emissions can interfere with breathing and aggravate existing
respiratory and cardiovascular disease.  In addition, the lawsuit
alleges that Borden violated the federal Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act by
failing to immediately notify authorities following the 1990-91
release of thousands of pounds of hazardous chemicals (including
vinyl chloride and ammonia).