Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. of Hercules, Calif., has agreed to pay$550,000 in fines and costs as part of a consent judgment in acase brought against the company last December by the stateAttorney General's Office and the Contra Costa County DistrictAttorney.

Deputy Attorney General Edward Weil said the penalty was thelargest recovered to date under the Safe Drinking Water andToxic Enforcement Act of 1986, a California ballot initiativeknown as Proposition 65.

Bio-Rad was accused of inadequately warning the public ofemissions of chloroform from its manufacturing process.

"Rather than litigate, we decided to settle, although wedisputed all the charges and didn't agree to any of them," saidSanford Wadler, general counsel for Bio-Rad. Bio-Rad haschanged its manufacturing process and no longer emitschloroform, he said.

Wadler said the payment wouldn't have a major effect on thecompany's earnings.

Bio-Rad (AMEX:BIOA) produces research products, clinicaldiagnostics and analytical instruments. -- Karen Bernstein

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