ADVERTISEMENT
2 /3 FREE ARTICLES LEFT THIS MONTH Remaining
Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.

If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.

ENJOY UNLIMITED ACCES TO C&EN

Policy

U.S. indicts a lab chemicals supplier

AK Scientific charged with illegally shipping hazardous chemicals

by Marc S. Reisch
February 23, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 9

A federal grand jury has indicted lab chemical supplier AK Scientific, based in Union City, Calif., and its owner, Peiwen Zhou, for smuggling and illegally shipping hazardous chemicals.

According to allegations contained in the indictment, Zhou told his employees to purchase hazardous chemicals (using false names) from suppliers in China. The indictment also charges that Zhou told employees to ship chemicals to customers in the U.S. and abroad without labeling them as hazardous.

Reached via e-mail, an AK spokesperson describes the company’s hazardous materials shipment program as “industry leading.” He adds that “AK Scientific looks forward to working with the government to reach a just and reasonable conclusion.”

If convicted, Zhou faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the smuggling charge alone. AK faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and several years of probation.

The indictment alleges, for instance, that AK smuggled 25 kg of the carcinogenic reagent 1,2-dibromoethane from China in 2012 with shipping papers describing the package contents as “Bema Inkjet Ink.”

In 2014, the firm allegedly shipped triphosgene to a customer in South Korea with documents describing it as a “chemical reagent for laboratory research.” Triphosgene may be fatal if inhaled.

“It can be very profitable to bypass the law,” says one lab chemical shipper who did not want to be named. But those who do flout regulations risk both getting caught and placing hazardous materials in the wrong hands, he says.

X

Article:

This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment