$325,000 Civil Penalty Against Alfa Chemistry

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
By George Hatcher

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $325,000 civil penalty against Alfa Chemistry of Stony Brook, New York, for allegedly violating U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations.

The FAA alleges that on two separate FedEx cargo flights, Alfa Chemistry shipped undeclared hazardous material that DOT regulations prohibit from being transported on passenger and cargo aircraft. The company allegedly shipped approximately one pint of Acrolein on April 19, 2013 and three additional pints of it on May 23, 2013. Acrolein can become explosive when combined with air and is classified as a toxic/poisonous material and flammable liquid under DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations.

On May 24, 2013, FAA and FedEx personnel tried to inspect the second shipment of Acrolein at the FedEx sort facility in Peabody, Massachusetts, after it began emitting a strong, pungent odor. However, they were unable to examine it because they began to experience coughing fits and extreme eye, nose and throat irritation due to the severity of the odor and vapors coming from the shipment. A FedEx employee had to put on a protective suit to inspect the shipment.

The FAA determined that neither shipment had required shipping papers or emergency response information. The FAA also determined that the May 23, 2013 shipment was not marked, labeled, or packaged as required by the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

Additionally, the FAA determined Alfa Chemistry failed to properly train and test the employees who packaged the Acrolein.

Alfa Chemistry has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

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