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Maine's Jackson Lab Faces Possible $200,000 Fine

The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) could be fined $213,670 for improperly storing chemicals, insufficiently training employees in hazardous waste management and for failing to notify local and state emergency response officials about the amount of hazardous materials stored at its local campus.

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The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, Maine) could be fined $213,670 for improperly storing chemicals, insufficiently training employees in hazardous waste management and for failing to notify local and state emergency response officials about the amount of hazardous materials stored at its local campus, according to a press release issued Thursday by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
 
The press release described the suspected violating materials as “potentially explosive peroxide-forming chemicals” and indicated they were found in three of the organization’s local labs during an inspection in November 2006. The release said Jackson Lab allegedly used in-house staff members to train other employees, despite that they “were never properly trained themselves” to provide hazardous waste training.
 
According to DEP environmental specialist Michael Hudson, who is familiar with the EPA inspection, the chemical that EPA believes was improperly stored at the lab was ether.
 
In a prepared statement issued Thursday afternoon by Jackson Lab, lab officials indicated the EPA allegations stem from a federal inspection that occurred two years ago. The inspection was EPA’s first at the lab even though the lab, in accordance with the law, first declared its use of hazardous materials in 1986, according to the lab statement.
 
Most of the EPA allegations focus on “minor paperwork lapses” and have since been addressed, according to the lab officials.
 
The substances that came to the EPA’s attention amount to “five pint-sized containers” that were not proved to be dangerous and were safely removed immediately after the inspection, the lab indicated. It said it has since addressed staff certification and training issues and has “extremely close collaborations” with local and state fire emergency response officials. The materials the emergency response officials did not know were kept at the lab include rock salt, fuel oil and other “everyday materials,” the lab said.
 
Jackson Lab is known worldwide for using mice to conduct scientific research on human diseases and genetics, and for breeding mice used by other research institutions around the globe.
 
By Bill Trotter
Bangor Daily News Staff
Source: Bangor Daily News
 
For the complete story, go to http://www.bangornews.com/detail/90325.html