Tyson Foods pays millions to settle poison gas case

The gas, anhydrous ammonia, is poisonous and is considered extremely hazardous under the Clean Air Act. Prolonged exposure can lead to serious lung damage and death. The Tyson facilities used the chemical in their refrigeration systems. 

Tyson will be required to bring in an outside party to assure compliance with the environmental law's safety program at all its facilities in the four states where the incidents occurred. The company will also pay a $3.95 million penalty and will purchase $300,000 worth of gear for emergency first responders in areas with environmental concerns near its facilities.

“This settlement will protect workers at Tyson facilities throughout Kansas; Iowa; Missouri and Nebraska that use anhydrous ammonia, and make the communities surrounding these 23 facilities safer," said Ignacio Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's environment bureau.

The case was being pursued by the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“We strive to operate our facilities responsibly, so after learning of EPA’s concerns we immediately made improvements and cooperated with EPA officials throughout the process,” said Kevin Igli, a Tyson executive, in a statement.