National Retailer Sentenced for Shipping Hazardous Materials Without Required Labeling
LOS ANGELES – Glow Industries, Inc., a tobacco related product distributor headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio, was sentenced on Monday in United States District Court after pleading guilty to a felony violation for shipping hazardous materials in packaging that did not display a required hazardous material label or marking on the package. United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson sentenced Glow to a five-year term of probation and a fine of $250,000.
On July 18, 2012, Glow shipped a package containing 72 butane cartridges from its Riverside, California facility to a smoke shop in Anchorage, Alaska. Butane is a highly flammable liquid used in lighters. The package containing the cartridges did not display any hazardous material warning. After being transported by air to Anchorage, the package was damaged; consequently, the butane cartridges were found inside. Investigation later revealed that a Glow employee had inverted the package so that the hazardous material marking originally placed on the package would not be visible.
According to the plea agreement, Glow admitted that it had directed and instructed various managers and employees, who were responsible for packaging and/or shipping products, to conceal the hazardous nature of Glow’s hazardous material products from its shippers. Pursuant to that policy, butane cartridges, which were originally shipped by suppliers to Glow in boxes containing a hazardous material warning, were intentionally removed from the marked boxes and inserted into boxes that had no hazardous material marking or labeling. Glow further admitted that ozium, another hazardous material product sold by Glow, would be delivered to Glow in a box that displayed a hazardous material warning. However, prior to shipping the ozium to its customers, Glow employees would razor out the hazardous material warning and then provide the box to its shipper without the box displaying any hazardous material warning.
Shipping companies rely upon hazardous material products bearing required labeling in order to properly handle and transport such items. Among the conditions of probation ordered by the Court, Glow is required to maintain an extensive compliance program which includes in person training for its employees or contractors and periodic audits to assure that Glow complies with any federal or local requirements for the labeling and shipping of hazardous materials.
The matter was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dennis Mitchell and Assistant United States Attorney Amanda Bettinelli of the Environmental and Community Safety Crimes Section.