JHC fined for selling illegal lubricant

Japanese lifestyle products retailer Japan Home Centre (JHC) has been fined HK$10,000 (US$1275) for selling a batch of multi-purpose lubricant containing volatile organic compounds (VOC) in excess of legally allowed limits.

The company was convicted at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts for contravening the Air Pollution Control (VOC) Regulations in selling the product, which was imported from Singapore.

A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said, in March this year, the EDP collected samples of a multi-purpose lubricant from a JHC shop for analysis, and the result showed that the samples’ VOC content exceeded the legal limit by 13 per cent (by weight). After investigation, the EPD found that JHC imported around 10,000 100ml bottles of multi-purpose lubricant in one batch from Singapore in February this year for sale in its shops. The EPD then prosecuted JHC under the Air Pollution Control (VOC) Regulation. Subsequently, Japan Home Centre stopped the sale of this batch of non-compliant products.

The spokesman reminded all importers and local manufacturers that, before importing or manufacturing any products regulated by this regulation, they must check the product details. In addition, they must ensure that the relevant product’s VOC content is compliant with the legal limit so as to not contravene the law.

VOCs are a major component responsible for the formation of smog, resulting in regional air pollution and smog problems. The Hong Kong government has gradually put the import and local manufacture of products containing VOCs under regulatory control since April 2007, including architectural paint, printing products, vehicle refinishing paint, vessel and pleasure craft paint, adhesives and sealants as well as a series of consumer products, including multi-purpose lubricant.

The EPD says it will continue to combat the illegal import or manufacture of regulated products with excessive VOCs with a view to further improving the air quality of Hong Kong and the neighbouring regions.

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