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EPA to review chemicals in paints, building materials

BY Brae Canlen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that companies be required to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals. Over the years, these chemicals have been used in a range of consumer products and industrial applications, including paints, printing inks, pigments and dyes in textiles, and flame retardants in flexible foams, plasticizers and some building materials. 

The five chemicals EPA is targeting are polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), benzidine dyes, a short chain chlorinated paraffin, hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), and phthalate di-n-pentyl phthalate (DnPP). The agency is also proposing additional testing on the health and environmental effects of PBDEs. 

PBDEs, used as a flame retardant in manufacturing, is of special concern. In high concentrations, the chemical can disrupt the hormone system and impair neurological development in children. PBDEs are found in a wide array of products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics, polyurethane foams, and textiles.

“Although a number of these chemicals are no longer manufactured or used in the U.S., they can still be imported in consumer goods or for use in products,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “[These] proposed actions will ensure that EPA has an opportunity to review new uses of the chemicals, whether they are domestically produced or imported, and if warranted, take action to prohibit or limit the activity before human health or environmental effects can occur.” 

 

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Commerce Department sides with Whirlpool

BY Brae Canlen

After investigating pricing practices among foreign appliance makers, the U.S. Commerce Department ruled on March 19 that two South Korean manufacturers and four Mexican producers were guilty of “dumping” their bottom-mount refrigerators on the U.S. market by selling them at less than fair value. The case was opened in response to a complaint filed by U.S. manufacturer Whirlpool. 

LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics, the two South Korean appliance makers, were determined to have a 15.41% and 5.16% dumping margin, respectively. For the appliances produced in Mexico, the findings were 30.34% for LG Electronics; 15.95% for Samsung; 6.0% for Mabe and 22.94% for Electrolux. 

In a prepared statement, LG Electronics noted that the Commerce Department found in its favor on one issue: whether LG refrigerators were illegally subsidized. (The ruling was a “negative final determination.”) As for the anti-dumping finding, LG said it would “aggressively contest” the Commerce Department’s conclusion that LG’s bottom-mount refrigerator-freezers imported from Korea and Mexico are sold at dumped prices in the U.S. 

“Commerce erroneously compared U.S. prices of Mexican refrigerators to the prices in Korea of a highly specialized line of Korean refrigerators designed primarily to store kimchi, a Korean food specialty,” the statement read. 

Samsung said it was “disappointed that the Commerce Department continues to use discredited methodology” to calculate its antidumping margins. 

“American consumers stand to lose the most from today’s determination,” Samsung said in its statement. “Samsung will continue to compete in the U.S. market. We have a long-term commitment to our home appliance business in the United States.”

The U.S. International Trade Commission, which is operating a concurrent investigation, is expecting to issue its findings on or about April 30, 2012.  

Whirlpool, which filed the anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions in March 2011, said in a statement it is only seeking to establish conditions of fair competition in the U.S. market and the U.S. jobs created by that production. The appliances affected by this case are made in Amana, Iowa. 

 

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Whirlpool shuffles international execs

BY Brae Canlen

Whirlpool has appointed Jose Drummond Jr., the current president of Whirlpool Latin America, to the position of president of Whirlpool Europe, Middle East and Africa.  Drummond will continue to report to Michael Todman, president, Whirlpool International. He replaces Bracken Darrell, who resigned from the company.

Whirlpool also announced that Joao Carlos Brega, currently president of Embraco, the company’s compressor business, will become president of Whirlpool Latin America. Brega will also report to Todman.

Roberto Campos, currently VP business and marketing, and Embraco electronic controls, will succeed Brega as president of Embraco.

Drummond became executive VP and president, Whirlpool Latin America, in September 2008. Previously, he was president, Whirlpool Latin America Home Appliances. He joined Whirlpool in 1999 as director, procurement, Whirlpool Latin America, and held a number of managerial positions, including VP sales and marketing, Whirlpool Latin America, and VP supply chain, Whirlpool Europe. Prior to joining Whirlpool, Drummond worked for Alcoa Aluminio and Accenture.

Brega became president, Embraco, in 2009. Previously, he was president, Whirlpool Mexico and Canada. Prior to this role, he was chief financial officer for Whirlpool Latin America. Brega joined Whirlpool in 1995 and served as operations director for Argentina and Chile, and finance director for North America and Latin America. Prior to Whirlpool, he worked for Sharp for Brazil.

Campos joined Embraco in 1987. He recently worked as VP business and marketing, and Embraco electronic controls. Prior to that, he was VP research and development and worked in several operational areas of Embraco.

Whirlpool is the world’s largest manufacturer of major home appliances, with annual sales of approximately $19 billion in 2011. The company markets products under the brands that include Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Consul and Bauknecht.

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