среда, 16 марта 2011 г.

Poisoned import


The largest Greek manufacturer of automotive paint products "H.B. Body S.A. " exports to Russia deliberately low-quality goods containing significantly exceeded content of substances harmful to people. This import is supported by the of the Baltic Customs officials and the St. Petersburg transport prosecutor's office, headed by former transport prosecutor Feofil Kehiopulo.


Harmful samples

It all started last summer, in the St. Petersburg seaport when employees of the Baltic Customs had detained large shipment of automobile paint and varnish products by known Greek company "H.B. Body S.A.". They collected air samples in the two containers, the examination of those led to stunning results: the maximum allowable concentration (MAC) of formaldehyde was 571 times exceeded; ethyl benzene - more than 25,000 times; ethenil benzene - 33 times, trimethyl benzene - 19 times.

These containers were tightly packed with jars of varnishes, paints and other automotive chemicals. The same banks can easily be found on the shelves of the Russian automotive stores.

The situation looked threatening objectively: both containers were filled with dangerous chemicals in damaged packages, or with varnishes and paints by the famous Greek firm. Indeed, in the shops they lie on the shelves in the very same packages that had so heavily poisoned air in containers. In any case, those were serious grounds to draw the attention of Georgia's government to the detained cargo.

What did the authorities do?

At first everything went right: on July 30, 2010 a representative of St. Petersburg Rospotrebnadzor sent a letter deputy chief of the Baltic Customs Valery Isachenko notifying about the problem and warning of the need for more serious examination of content of the containers.

On August, 10 corresponding samples were taken for examination, and then it was assumed that the whole lot of suspicious products would be in temporary storage pending the outcome of examinations. After all, according to common sense, even staying near the paints could be harmful.

But for some reason no one has waited for the examination results.


Air can not be declared

Suddenly suspicious paint attracted interest of the Deputy of St. Petersburg transport prosecutor Artem Zotochkin who issued a curious document entitled "warning about the inadmissibility of law violations." The meaning of the document came down to the fact that the air samples which had been taken from the containers, are not subject to customs declaration, thus there is no sense to pay attention to the harmful substances in them. Prosecutor's admonition ended up claiming the leadership of the Baltic Customs about inadmissibility of illegal detain of shipments belonging to honest businessmen.

After such a "hitting" by prosecutor, all containers with products "H.B. Body S.A." have been safely released for free circulation, and apparently suspicious jars with varnish, ink were spread in the automobile and numerous workshops in Russia, though customs is not obliged to accept a prosecutor's strange warning as a guide to action. Moreover, the Deputy Chief of the Baltic Customs Valery Isachenko was objectively informed about the dangerous situation.

Containers were released in late August, and on September 10, there were results of expert research of samples of the hapless containers content. The expert of FSIHS “Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology in St. Petersburg” by Rospotrebnadzor stated excess of maximum permissible concentrations of harmful chemicals in 23 products by "H.B. Body S.A." which had been detained at customs.

Strange reaction of the St. Petersburg transport prosecutor's office is dated to the period when the head of this department was Feofil Kehiopulo. Now the official serves as deputy prosecutor of St. Petersburg. Sources of «Rumafia.com» argue that strange support of the import of harmful paint products was carried out under his order. Moreover, there is evidence that he still continues to monitor the situation informally.


Wear a mask!

However, it seems that starting from this moment the authorities protected not the health interests of citizens, but the interests of the businessmen who imported harmful goods to Russia.

In particular, the expert opinion of the Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology, ended with a strange conclusion: yes, when applied to the surface paint extracts more pollutants than permitted for the working areas. But workers can wear respiratory masks, gas masks, protective clothing, switch on ventilation - and everything will be fine!

Although simple common sense says: the standards for work areas, as well as any other standards, are devised in order to comply with and not to give it up and advise people to walk in gas masks.

But the strange conclusion of experts did not alert the leadership of Saint-Petersburg transport prosecutor's office, headed by Feofil Kehiopulo: Despite numerous requests from participants of the summer events of the danger posed by the products released into free circulation, Deputy City Attorney Zotochkin replied - all is well, there are no grounds for prosecution response.


Wholesale – not for retail

Meanwhile, the story has not ended. Even the suddenly loyal findings of Rospotrebnadzor employees indicated that the products of "H.B. Body S.A." they researched was not intended for retail sale free. This means that the Greek varnish-paint should take on a specially equipped warehouse, and should be sold in small bulk quantities to specialized shops. Thus, for security purposes the obvious harmful products should have no contact to unprotected people (and they do not go to stores in protective suits and gas masks).

But it was clearly written in the cargo customs declarations accompanying the detained goods at the Baltic customs: designed for retailers. It is clear due to the packaging and to the fact that the product "H.B. Body S.A." can be easily found on store shelves.

Deputy Transport prosecutor in Petersburg, Artyom Zotochkin is perfectly aware of it. But he was not bothered by it at all. Yes, Zotochkin wrote, that there is such a line in the declaration, so what? Prosecutor's Office determined that the importer of the goods LLC “Paros” was engaged exclusively in wholesale trade and the corresponding entry in the customs declaration is stating not the real situation, but the fact that the product was packaged as if it was not for wholesale but for retail!

One cannot argue with such a cunning prosecutor, however, the editorial office «Rumafia.com» has learnt another curious detail about the goods exported to Russia by Greek "H.B. Body S.A.".


To Russia on the cheap

Among the identified by Rospotrebnadzor harmful chemicals, exceeding the maximum allowable concentrations there were ethyl benzene, methyl alcohol, isobutyl acetate, toluene, butyl acetate and pseudokumene. Meanwhile, these components did not appear in the safety data sheets, in which any chemical plant like "H.B. Body S.A.", indicates the chemical composition of their products.

In fact, it could mean that the plant-manufacturer of automotive paints and varnishes was trying to hide the true composition of its products, apparently assuming that it can be harmful.

In this connection the experts explained to the correspondent of «Rumafia.com»:

Greek plant "H. B. Body S.A." buys raw materials of very poor quality in India and China, and produces products for Russia out of them. Doing so allows significantly reduce the cost of goods, and, given the level of corruption in Russia, any claims from the regulatory authorities can be easily neutralized. Therefore, such a product is "a tidbit" for the importer (products of "H.B. Body S.A." in Russia are distributed by a group of companies "Apex"). But for Europe and the U.S. the same plant "HB Body SA" buys higher-quality raw material that allows maintaining the image of global manufacturer of automotive paint and varnish products.

It is interesting that the company "H.B. Body S.A." estranged from the conflict. However, they have expressed their point of view about the quality of products. As stated at the company's website: "The company carries out continuous monitoring of product quality at all stages of the process. In addition, experts of HB Body are doing continuous researches to improve existing products and develop entirely new materials for car repairs ... "

But the CEO of LLC “Paros”, importing products of "H.B. Body S.A.", Mikhail Tomashev stated in his letters that the product fully complies with the sanitary requirements, and its quality is insured by the manufacturer.

Let us add that the average monthly import of goods by "H.B. Body S.A." in Russia is 30-40 containers (700-800 tons).

Fred Blake, «Rumafia.com»

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