Company Fined $120,000 for 'Horrible Spooky' Effects on Health, Environment

Target Corp. will pay a civil penalty of $120,000 for distributing and selling Horrible Spooky String, a children's product that is harmful to the environment. EPA had previously ordered five national retail chains to pull cans of illegally imported confetti string products from their shelves. The products contain banned hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which deplete the earth's protective stratospheric ozone layer and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Millions of cans of these novelty items, many imported from other countries and known by various names such as Horrible Spooky String, Zany String, Crazy String, and Party Streamer, among others, have been sold illegally in the United States. Not all string confetti products are harmful.

"Importers of consumer products containing illegal substances beware," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA Regional Administrator. "EPA banned HCFC propellants in most spray cans more than a decade ago and importers must be careful to guard against bringing in products that could harm human health or the environment. We are pleased that Target cooperated with EPA's enforcement actions to ensure that these products will not be available to consumers and the ozone-depleting substances they contained will never make it into our environment."

Target followed EPA's directives by taking the banned products off shelves and shipping them to a commercial incinerator for destruction. A total of 785,516 cans, representing all of the company's inventory, were incinerated pursuant to EPA's prior compliance order. Target has also agreed to audit its operations and adopt new policies to ensure that these problems do not arise again.

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