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Dec 17, 2009

Target Corporation fined $500,000 for clean air violations


Retailer resisted cooperating with enforcement officers and was
subject to a stipulated judgment

SACRAMENTO: The Air Resources Board has fined Target Corporation
$500,000 for selling multiple products throughout California
between 2006 and 2008 that do not comply with the state's clean
air regulations.

ARB enforcement officers found that the retail chain had
marketed, sold, supplied and contracted with companies to provide
quantities of several non-compliant products to California's
market including: portable generators, portable fuel containers,
automotive windshield washer fluid and liquid air fresheners.
"ARB worked with manufacturers to design products that pollute
less," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Retailers have a
responsibility to ensure the products they offer are legal for
sale in California."

Initially, Target was found to be selling non-compliant
windshield washer fluid. California regulations establish a
maximum level of volatile organic compounds in windshield-washer
fluid, and all chemically formulated products because VOCs
contribute to ground level ozone.

Further investigation found that the manufacturer had warned
Target several times that the product was not formulated for sale
in warmer portions of California. Target continued to sell the
product even after state representatives notified the company of
the violations and pending enforcement actions. Further
investigation discovered sales of other non-compliant products,
including numerous Target branded reed-diffuser air fresheners.
ARB referred the case to California Attorney General's office in
September 2008. The stipulated settlement was ultimately
finalized in October of 2009.

California requires reduced VOC emissions from consumer products
as a means to reach state and federal ambient ozone standards.
Ozone is the main constituent of smog, a threat to human health
and the focus of decades of regulations aimed at reducing air
pollution. Exposure to ozone can cause lung inflammation,
impaired breathing, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of
breath and worsening of asthma symptoms.

VOCs are also emitted from portable fuel containers. In 1999,
the state addressed these by requiring manufacturers to engineer
canisters with tight controls. The new canisters eliminate fumes
that leak through container walls and, to reduce spillage,
include a mechanism that seals the spigot when not in use.
Portable generators have strict emission requirements focusing
on exhaust.

Efforts over the last 20 years to clean California's air have
led to a 38% drop in statewide ozone levels.
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.


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