Release 04-05      
February 17, 2004


Jerry Martin 
Gennet Paauwe 
(916) 322-2990

Building Materials Manufacturer Pays $350,000 Settlement

SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today reached a $350,000 settlement from Texas Industries, Inc. (TXI). ARB alleged that TXI and its subsidiaries, Pacific Custom Materials, Inc. (PCM), TXI California, Inc., and TXI Operations, exceeded emission limitations of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

"Nitrogen oxides, a major precursor to ozone and particulate matter, are major contributors to smog," said ARB Executive Officer Catherine Witherspoon. "We need to reduce these emissions wherever they are found."

Following a large number of complaints to ARB and the Ventura County Air Pollution Control District (VCAPCD), ARB investigated and filed an enforcement case. This case was ultimately prosecuted by the state's Attorney General. ARB and the VCAPCD alleged that, at its Lockwood Valley facility, TXI had exceeded state and local maximum emission limitations of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

TXI manufactures lightweight aggregate products and other construction materials. The settlement requires TXI and subsidiaries to pay a monetary settlement of $350,000, undertake process and equipment upgrades, install additional monitoring and reporting equipment and conduct additional source testing.

Nitrogen oxides are typically created during combustion processes, and are major contributors to smog, particulate formation and acid deposition. The health effects of these pollutants may range from relatively mild temporary conditions, such as eye or throat irritation, shortness of breath, or headaches, to permanent and serious conditions, such as reduction of lung function, reduction in lung growth rates (in children), and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.

Particulate matter pollution consists of very small liquid and solid particles floating in the air. Of greatest concern to public health are the particles small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lung, known as PM2.5. When inhaled PM2.5 evades the respiratory system's natural defenses and lodge deep in the lungs. Exposure to PM2.5 aggravates a number of respiratory illnesses and may even cause early death in people with existing heart and lung disease.

Sulfur Oxides are pungent, colorless gases (sulfates are solids) formed primarily by the combustion of sulfur-containing fossil fuels, especially coal and oil. Considered major air pollutants, sulfur oxides may impact human health and damage vegetation. At TXI's Lockwood Valley facility, the principal source of emitted sulfur oxide was the raw materials being processed.

The settlement monies will be deposited in the state's Air Pollution Control Fund (APCF). The APCF is used to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.