The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday announced settlements with three Southern California companies for violating the Clean Air Act by dealing in aftermarket auto parts which bypass or render inoperative required automotive emissions control systems.

The companies will pay a total of $322,000 in penalties, according to the EPA.

Emission controls on cars and trucks “are an important tool for reducing pollution, particularly in parts of the Pacific Southwest which struggle with poor air quality,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker.

Cars and trucks manufactured Wednesday emit far less pollution than older vehicles due to careful engine calibrations and the use of filters and catalytic converters in exhaust systems, according to the federal agency. Aftermarket defeat devices bypass those controls and cause vehicles to emit higher levels of emissions. EPA testing has shown that defeat devices can increase a vehicle’s NOx emissions substantially.

The EPA said the administrative settlement agreements involved:

— Yoshimura Research and Development of America Inc., which manufactured and sold 46,502 aftermarket exhaust systems for motorcycles from 2008-2010 requiring the removal of catalytic converters, according to EPA. The Chino-based company paid a reduced penalty of $225,000 due to financial hardship;

— Modbargins.com Inc., a La Habra company that sold 16 aftermarket exhaust systems for motor vehicles from 2015-2016 that required the removal of catalytic converters, EPA said. The company paid a $7,000 penalty; and

— Two Brothers Racing Inc., which manufactured and sold 13,597 various exhaust systems for motorcycles from 2013-2016 that required the removal of catalytic converters, according to EPA. The Santa Ana company will pay a reduced penalty of $90,000 penalty due to financial hardship.

NOx pollution contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors — including outdoor workers — and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. Nitrogen dioxide formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.