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June 5, 2011

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PROSECUTORS FILE ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUIT AGAINST HOME DEPOT FOR REPEATED VIOLATIONS

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 2:54 pm

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Consumer Protection and Environmental Justice Section, along with other District Attorney offices, including those for the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, filed a lawsuit today (June 3, 2011) in Los Angeles Superior Court against The Home Depot USA Inc. alleging unfair business practices and false and misleading advertising for offering to sell and selling paints and coatings at Southland stores that violate air pollution limits.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, which is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, conducted the investigation that resulted in the enforcement action.

The Home Depot USA Inc., the largest home improvement chain in the region, has advertised itself as a leading “green” company. However, as alleged in the lawsuit, Home Depot has exposed its customers and their families to paints and coatings containing high levels of smog-forming pollutants. In addition, Home Depot is charged with misleading its customers with false information about its products and, in doing so, sought an unfair business advantage over its competitors.

The lawsuit charges that from 2006 to 2010, Home Depot offered for sale and/or sold containers of clear wood coatings, lacquers, paints, and other coatings that violated air quality regulations. Paints and coatings are a major source of air pollution, responsible for 23 tons per day of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the Southland, an amount greater than that emitted by approximately 1.5 million cars. VOCs combine in the atmosphere with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone, also known as summertime smog.

Ozone causes a wide range of adverse health effects, including respiratory ailments, such as worsening asthma symptoms that can result in increased emergency room visits and hospital admissions.

More than two dozen stores located in the Southland were found with the illegal products, including several stores that continued to offer such products for sale after Home Depot’s management had been notified of the violations.

In 2004 and 2006, Notices of Violation were issued to Home Depot for violating this same air quality regulation. Manufacturers, acting on Home Depot’s behalf, paid civil penalties to resolve those violations.

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