Jeff Smith 4 p.m., Aug. 28
Dumpster diving D.A.'s
District Attorneys statewide announce judgment against Walgreens for illegally dumping hazardous materials, customers' private medical information
San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined other district attorneys from across the state yesterday in announcing a judgment of just under $16.6 million that was lodged against the drugstore chain Walgreens in Alameda County.
Illinois-based Walgreen Company was ordered to pay out following the finding that over the last six years the company’s 600 California stores, including 36 throughout San Diego County, were mishandling and illegally disposing of hazardous waste including “pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols, automotive products and solvents, pharmaceutical and bio hazardous waste, and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials.” The stores also mishandled confidential customer medical information, disposing of it un-shredded into on-site dumpsters.
All of the San Diego locations were involved in violations to some extent.
$223,000 of the judgment will go to the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, and another $507,750 will go to the local district attorney’s office.
Hazardous waste from Walgreens outlets will henceforth be stored in separate, labeled containers, and the company will be compelled “to take proper steps to preserve the confidentiality of their pharmacy customer’s medical information.”
Image: San Diego Department of Environmental Health, District Attorney and City Attorney investigators examine the contents of a Walgreens dumpster in North Park. Photo courtesy District Attorney's office.