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New York City Starbucks Stores Sued for Using Potentially Dangerous Pest Control Strips

— May 23, 2019

Starbucks was recently sued over allegations some of the coffee chain’s New York City stores used pest control strips that put customers and employees at risk.

Starbucks is at the center of a new class-action lawsuit over allegations that certain stores “intentionally and wantonly exposed its customers to toxic chemicals in the form of pest-control strips.” The suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court earlier this week and argues that some of the city’s Starbucks locations “allowed mold to build up in unclean areas, creating an environment for pests such as cockroaches and maggots, among others, to thrive.” To combat the pests, the coffee chain used a brand of pest strips that contained “a chemical called dichlorvos, or DDVP.”

Cockroach; image courtesy of PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay,

The suit further states:

“Starbucks stores throughout Manhattan have for many years been permeated with a toxic pesticide called Dichlorvos, which is highly poisonous and completely unfit for use in proximity to food, beverages, and people.”

For example, the suit alleges the pest control strips Starbucks placed the pest control strips in “food display areas and air vents.

What is DDVP, though? Is it dangerous? Well, according to the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease, DDVP is often used to keep pests away from food storage areas. However, the agency noted that “humans should not come into contact with the chemical, as dichlorvos poisoning can result in nausea, teary eyes and anxiety, and in more severe cases, loss of bladder control, coma or even death.” As if that isn’t bad enough. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed DDVP as a “probable carcinogen or cancer-causing agent.”

In response to the allegations, a Starbucks spokesperson said the suit lacks merit and added the company is “confident customers were not put in harm’s way.” The company also issued the following statement:

“The lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs and their attorneys lacks merit and is an attempt to incite public fear for their own financial gain. We go to great length to ensure the safety of our partners and customers, and we are confident they have not been put at risk.”

This isn’t the first suit filed against the coffee chain, though. In fact, the same day the class-action lawsuit was filed, “a former employee, a former pest-control technician who worked at Manhattan Starbucks locations, and that technicians’ supervisor” filed a lawsuit claiming “they were terminated or had their contracts with Starbucks terminated as a result of voicing concerns over the strips.”

In response to that particular suit, Starbucks said, “Starbucks takes the concerns of its partners very seriously and does not take action or retaliate against partners who express them.”


Lawsuit accuses Starbucks of exposing customers to toxic pesticide

Starbucks accused of exposing New York City customers to toxic pesticide

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