The city of Los Angeles and California state prosecutors allege that Target illegally dumped hazardous consumer products that were returned or damaged, according to a preliminary injunction against the retail chain store, reports Los Angeles Times. Prosecutors are seeking civil penalties against the retailer.
A civil enforcement lawsuit filed last year in Alameda County claims that more than 240 Target stores in California handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials improperly over a five-year period, reports San Diego 6. These include pesticides, paint, aerosols, pool chemicals and other toxic and corrosive materials.
Prosecutors allege that tons of hazardous wastes and contaminated materials were disposed of with merchandise and garbage in Target’s compactors, and sent to area landfills, reports San Diego 6. They also claim that the retailer failed to train employees on how to identify damaged and leaking products containing hazardous materials and toxic chemicals and how to properly dispose of them.
Specifically, investigators said that 5,000 pounds of products that couldn’t be sold in stores were sent to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, which included “damaged, leaking, unusable items with flammable, toxic and corrosive properties,” reports Los Angeles Times. In addition, an investigation found ongoing violations of the state’s hazardous waste laws.
As part of the court order issued last Friday by an Alameda County judge Target was ordered not to dispose of hazardous waste at an unauthorized or unpermitted place nor transport hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Target is not the first major retailer to be investigated for illegally dumping hazardous products in California. In May, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle charges that it violated California environmental laws by improperly handling, storing and disposing of hazardous materials. The settlement includes $21 million for civil penalties and investigative costs and $6 million to fund supplemental environmental projects.