Release 98-15

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CONTACT:      Richard Varenchik
April 20, 1998                                                                                             (626) 575-6730

Air Resources Board Settles Gelson's and Mayfair Hair Spray Case

        SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced a $20,000 settlement with the Arden Group, Inc of Compton over Los Angeles-area sales at Gelson's and Mayfair markets of hair spray products that violated state air rules. Arden Group is the parent corporation of Gelson's and Mayfair.

        The settlement stems from investigations in 1994 and 1995 when ARB inspectors found Gelson's and Mayfair markets in Century City, Encino, Hollywood, North Hollywood, and Tarzana selling hair spray and other hair-care products that exceeded state limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs react in the atmosphere to form ground-level ozone, the major component of smog.

        "One individual can of hair spray contributes only tiny amounts of pollutants to California's skies," said ARB Chairman John Dunlap. "But when we take these consumer products as a whole, they add tons of pollutants to our air each day."

        ARB inspectors found more than 200 containers of hair care products at the markets that either lacked proper label codes or exceeded state standards, which limit hair spray products to no more than 80 percent VOCs. Information from invoices, however, indicated that approximately 10,000 containers of the hair care products may have been involved in the violations.

        In the settlement agreement, Arden Group Inc. agreed not to sell in California any consumer product that does not meet state air regulations.

        New standards to take effect in June 1999 will cut the allowable level of VOCs in hair spray to 55 percent.

        Last July the ARB adopted new standards for 18 categories of consumer products that include more than 3,000 individual products. These include auto wax, rubbing and polishing compounds, carpet and upholstery cleaners, floor wax strippers and spot removers. As the new regulations are phased in through 2005, emissions from these products will be reduced by about 16 tons per day.

        The July action followed regulations that will reduce air emissions in 28 other consumer products. "We face federal and state clean-air deadlines that force us to examine every product that creates smog-forming emissions and see if it is economically feasible to reduce those emissions," Dunlap said.

        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.

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