What does EPCRA have to do with your local retail center?

When people think of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), they likely think of large manufacturing companies and chemical companies.  After all, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “EPCRA was passed in response to concerns regarding the environmental and safety hazards posed by the storage and handling of toxic chemicals.  These concerns were triggered by the disaster in Bhopal, India, in which more than 2,000 people suffered death or serious injury from the accidental release of methyl isocyanate.”

The intent of EPCRA is to provide information to the public and emergency responders (“Community Right to Know”) regarding chemical storage to improve safety and to protect public health and the environment.

Here is where the “retail twist” comes in to play.  Unlike Section 313 of EPCRA, which applies to typical manufacturing, mining, chemical, and petroleum type companies, Sections 302 (356 extremely hazardous substances) and 311/312 (500,000 products) are NOT dependant on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.  That is, Section 302 and 312 applies to every company who stores chemicals above a certain threshold.  So if a retail store has a warehouse that stores chemicals in bulk (even in retail size) they may have EPCRA reporting requirements.

Another consideration is if the warehousing operations have forklifts that are powered by lead acid batteries, there may be enough lead or sulfuric acid in the batteries to require EPCRA reporting.

Bottom line: if this potentially affects you, there may be serious legal consequences.  We would be happy to discuss EPCRA applicability with you but we certainly encourage you to discuss this with your legal counsel as well.

For more information, contact Matthew Schroeder (mschroeder@dragun.com) at 248-932-0228.

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