County D.A. joins suit after local Walgreens stores are found violating waste laws.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The nationwide drugstore chain Walgreens is under scrutiny for its waste disposal practices in light of a civil suit filed in Alameda County on June 18. Allegations made by 35 California district attorney’s offices include claims that over the course of a year, more than 600 stores in the state improperly disposed of hazardous material, including bleach, pesticides and medical waste including flu vaccines.
The Monterey County DA’s office joined in filing a preliminary injunction on Aug. 6 after finding all five Walgreens stores in the county violated waste management laws and unlawfully disposed of customers’ medical records, says Annie Michaels, a Monterey County managing deputy district attorney. In December, district attorney investigators dove into dumpsters at Walgreens stores in Seaside and Salinas, and found hazardous waste, customers’ receipts and empty prescription bottles labeled with confidential medical information.
“We intend to work with state and local officials in order to resolve this matter,” says Robert Elfinger, a Walgreens spokesman.
The Monterey County Department of Environmental Health has filed reports of improper hazardous material management discovered during their annual health inspections, Michaels says.
A court date has been scheduled for Sept. 27.