OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – For years, Target Corp. dumped toxic chemicals, including aerosols, mercury, propane canisters and chlorine, into trash bins and landfills across California, and in one case, fumes from a trash compactor led caused several people to be hospitalized in Sacramento County, 20 district attorneys claim in Alameda County Court.
The prosecutors say Target showed a “willful disregard for California’s hazardous waste laws” and refused to cooperate with state officials. The state seeks an injunction requiring Target to hire a hazardous waste hauler to transport the toxic products to a hazardous waste facility, and penalties of up to $25,000 for each health code violation.
A Target spokeswoman, Laura Opsahl, said the company was “disappointed” with the state’s accusations and said Target had provided state officials with access to their stores and distribution centers for three years. Opsahl said that the lawsuit seeks to “prevent Target from donating products – such as detergent, shampoo and hair spray – to local charitable organizations in need of these resources.”
Kmart also was under investigation for negligently dumping hazardous waste; it agreed to pay $8.6 million in civil penalties.