600 Walgreens Accused of Dumping Hazardous Waste for Years

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Two months after filing a lawsuit alleging that more than 600 California Walgreen stores have been dumping hazardous waste in landfills for six years, district attorneys from 35 counties have asked a judge to stop the company from continuing the practice while the case is litigated.

The DAs want a preliminary injunction to halt what they call routine and systematic dumping of pharmaceutical and biohazardous waste in the trash instead of being sent to authorized disposal sites. Products included  automotive products, pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols and solvents.

A statement from the Alameda County DA’s office said: “Prosecutors contend that Walgreens systematically ignored those laws to cut costs.”

The original case, California v. Walgreen, was filed in Alameda County Superior Court in June after a three-year investigation. The complaint against Walgreen also alleges it failed to take steps to protect the privacy of customers by improperly disposing of customer records containing confidential medical information.

The company disclosed the civil complaint when it made a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission July 12 that it faced the possibility of monetary sanctions that could exceed $100,000.

Target Corp. paid $22.5 million to settle a California lawsuit in February over the illegal dumping of hazardous wastes. The company was accused of pouring toxic chemicals down the drain, throwing waste in dumpsters and shipping materials to landfills that should have been specially packaged and sent to special disposal sites.

Walmart and Home Depot have also settled large lawsuits over dumping.

“This wasn't an isolated incident. Walgreen's actions were systematic and statewide, and the company must be held accountable,” Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich said in a statement.  

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

California Counties Ask Judge to Keep Walgreen's from Dumping Hazardous Waste (by Paul T. Rosynsky, Oakland Tribune)

California Prosecutors Sue Walgreens over Waste Disposal (CNN)

California Counties Seek Order on Walgreen Toxic Disposal (by Karen Gullo, Bloomberg)

Walgreens Sued for Hazardous Waste Violations (Green Retail Decisions)

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