EPA fines Oxnard manufacturer over $1 million for selling ‘defeat devices’, harming air quality

Oxnard CA (7/7/2022)– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that Borla Performance Exhaust Inc. will pay a $1,022,500 million penalty under the Clean Air Act for illegally selling aftermarket products that counter vehicles’ emissions-control systems – known popularly as defeat devices — throughout the U.S. Vehicles are a significant contributor to air pollution, and aftermarket defeat devices that disable emission controls lead to even higher levels of pollution. This settlement is part of EPA’s National Compliance Initiative, which focuses on stopping the manufacture, sale, and installation of defeat devices on vehicles and engines.

“Aftermarket defeat devices are against the law and disproportionately impact communities with environmental justice concerns” said EPA Pacific Southwest’s Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Companies involved in these illegal and damaging practices will face significant penalties.”

Borla manufactured and sold aftermarket exhaust parts that are designed to remove catalytic converters from automobiles. Catalytic converters are installed in most automobiles to meet federal emission standards and typically control more than 90% of the regulated pollutants passing through them.

The practice of tampering with vehicles by installing defeat devices can enable large emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious health problems in the United States. These include premature mortality, aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease, aggravation of existing asthma, acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, and decreased lung function. Respiratory issues like these disproportionately affect families, especially children, living in underserved communities overburdened by pollution. Emissions of NOx and particulate matter may also have harmful effects on sensitive vegetation and ecosystems.

Contact Information Julia Giarmoleo (giarmoleo.julia@epa.gov) 213-326-2033