Southern California environment news and trends

Home Depot pays $8 million fine to air regulators over smog-forming chemicals in paint

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Home Depot will pay $8 million to regional regulators and southern California counties to settle a dispute over the home improvement stores' sales of paint containing compounds that contribute to smog.

Home Depot stores will pay $8 million to regional regulators and southern California counties as part of a continuing crackdown on air pollution from volatile organic compounds in paint.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District says paints are a major source of air pollution. Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, combine with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone, or smog. Regulators say it's worth cracking down on VOCs because the compounds released each day from paints and coatings sold in the region are equivalent to those released by more than a million cars.

Three years ago, Lowe's stores paid a $2.75 million penalty, and Walmart settled with air officials for $2 million, in cases involving similar charges.

In Home Depot's case, several of its stores sold non-compliant paint after warnings from air regulators. As part of the settlement, Home Depot will maintain an inventory tracking system to prevent prohibited products from entering the market.

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