Release 98-31
June 4, 1998
CONTACT:  Jerry Martin
(916) 322-2990
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730

ARB Settles Kiwi Brands and COSTCO Corporation
Consumer Products Enforcement Cases

        SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced two settlements have been reached regarding the sale of consumer products that violated the state's air quality standards. One of the settlements involved Kiwi Brands for approximately $130,000 and the other with COSTCO Corporation for $25,000.

        ARB Chairman John Dunlap said, "These settlement agreements illustrate ARB's commitment to cleaning up emissions from consumer products in California. This includes working closely with product manufacturers, distributors and retailers to assure that these exceedances do not occur again."

        The Kiwi Brands settlement agreement stems from routine ARB inspections, which took place in Southern California during January 1997. ARB inspectors found that between January 1995 and January 1997 there were approximately 7,500 containers of Kiwi Camp Dry Protectants, a fabric protectant, sold and/or manufactured for sale in California, that exceeded state limits for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs react in the atmosphere to form ground-level ozone, one of the most harmful components of smog.

        The COSTCO settlement originated from ARB inspections that began in 1994 and ended in 1996. ARB inspectors found hair spray products made by Sebastian, Redken and Joico, that exceeded state VOC standards. These requirements, in effect since 1993, limit hair spray products to no more than 80 percent VOC content.

        Both Kiwi Brands and COSTCO Corporation agreed not to sell in California any consumer products that violate state air regulations. As part of the settlement agreement, Kiwi Brands has agreed to pay the full settlement amount of $133,740 to the ARB. COSTCO has agreed to pay $10,000 to the ARB and $15,000 to the Hesperia Unified School District in Hesperia, California, for a special student produced video production on air quality.

        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 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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