Chemicals industry giant Chemicals International is set to be hit with a $300 million civil fine over the UK government’s decision to axe its ban on brominated flame retardants, or BFS, from 2020.
The ban was put in place in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and has been widely credited with saving thousands of lives.
But with its export market in the UK now severely limited, the company is likely to find it hard to recover.
“We have been working hard to protect the BFS trade in the United Kingdom and are confident that this fine will provide some relief to the chemical industry and provide clarity for those impacted,” said the company in a statement to Bloomberg.
Chemicals International said that it would be seeking a full refund from the UK Government through the Department of Industry, Science and Innovation.
Amber Chemical Industries, a subsidiary of German chemical giant BASF, was also named as a defendant in the case.
The case was brought by the UK’s environmental regulator, the Environment Agency (EA), which was the UK agency responsible for the country’s chemical regulation.
BASF was found guilty of failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of BFS.
The company is also facing a criminal investigation in the U.K. over the same allegations.
Last year, BFS was the subject of a public inquiry after more than 400 people died after inhaling toxic fumes from the company’s refinery in the northern city of Wokingham.
In January, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would investigate the company for failing to act on its own to halt the spread and destruction of BTS from its facilities, which are used for refining chemical products.
Meanwhile, the EPA has warned that it is not prepared to accept a $2 billion settlement to cover the cost of cleaning up BFS and other toxic chemicals found in the region.
Earlier this month, the U-K.
government announced it was dropping its ban in 2018 on BFS from its exports to the United States and Britain.
The move was based on the findings of the European Union’s investigation into the deaths of more than 1,000 people in the refinery accident in Wokingam in 2016.