CELGENE AND GENERAL ELECTRIC DEMONSTRATE NEW TREATMENT SYSTEM TO DEGRADE TOXIC CHEMICAL WASTE
CELGENE AND GENERAL ELECTRIC DEMONSTRATE NEW TREATMENT
SYSTEM TO DEGRADE TOXIC CHEMICAL WASTE
MT. VERNON, Ind., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- General Electric (NYSE: GE) and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) announced today the successful demonstration of a new system to significantly reduce methylene chloride emissions at the GE Plastics facility here.
Using an innovative biological treatment system developed by Celgene Corporation, GE Plastics has effectively reduced its emission levels of methylene chloride, a primary process chemical used in the production of LEXAN(R) engineering thermoplastic resin. LEXAN thermoplastic is one of the world's most widely used materials, in industries such as automotive, packaging, electrical and electronics and building and construction.
Methylene chloride is a commonly used chemical for a number of diverse applications including photographic film, paint removers, pharmaceuticals and plastics. It is one of 17 toxic chemicals targeted for reduction by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The process demonstrated by Celgene Corporation decreased concentrations to levels well below the federal EPA emission guidelines.
The Celgene process utilizes naturally occurring microorganisms in a unique bioreactor system capable of degrading methylene chloride into water, carbon dioxide and salt.
Since 1987, GE Plastics has reduced air emissions at its U.S. plants by more than 50 percent. "GE Plastics has made emission reduction a priority goal and voluntarily adopted an aggressive 75 percent emission elimination goal in 1988," said Dr. Elwood M. Miller, general manager of environmental, health and safety for GE Plastics. "Based on our results in the first three years of the five-year plan, we are more than two- thirds of the way towards that 75 percent reduction goal."
Methylene chloride is used at several GE Plastics facilities and reported annually to the federal, state and local agencies. "The biotreatment technology demonstrated by Celgene at our Mt. Vernon facility offers the potential to further reduce these emissions in certain waste streams by as much as 99 percent," Miller added.
Early this year EPA Administrator William K. Reilly announced the 33/50 Program a national pollution prevention initiative seeking industry reductions of key toxic emissions of 33 percent by 1993 and 50 percent by 1995. The program is focused on 17 high priority toxic pollutants, including methylene chloride.
"It is very rewarding for us to develop a solution for this national goal and produce a system which can eliminate one of the targeted chemicals before it reaches the environment. Our biological process is the first demonstration of an in-line pollution prevention system since Mr. Reilly announced the 33/50 Program," said John L. Ufheil, Celgene's president and chief executive officer.
GE Plastics is currently in discussions with Celgene Corporation to purchase commercial-scale units for the Mt. Vernon facility.
Celgene developed the biological treatment system for the degradation of methylene chloride at its Warren, N.J., laboratories. The pilot demonstration at the GE plant began in July as an outgrowth of a cooperative program begun a year earlier involving Celgene researchers, GE's Research and Development Center scientists in Schenectady, N.Y., and the GE Plastics' process technology staff at Mt. Vernon.
According to Ufheil, the Celgene biotreatment system is capable of reducing the toxicity of certain chlorinated compounds before they are emitted from the production facilities. "This system is less expensive and more efficient than alternative pollution prevention technologies and it able to reduce these compounds to 1/100,000th of their original levels," said Ufheil.
GE Plastics, headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., is an operating unit of General Electric Company.
Celgene Corporation, based in Warren, N.J., is a chemical biotechnology company engaged in the development of fine and specialty chemicals and proprietary biotreatment systems to degrade hazardous wastes.
/CONTACT: Bruce Farren of GE Plastics, 413-448-4808, or John L. Ufheil of Celgene Corporation, 908-271-1001, or Anthony J. Russo, or Karin Eskenazi of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-979-9180, for Celgene/
(GE) (CELG) CO: GE Plastics; Celgene Corporation; General Electric ST: Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana IN: CHM HOU SU: JVN PS -- NY005 -- 1522 11/06/91 08:03 EST