A lawsuit has been filed against Taylorville Kroger by the State of Illinois and the Attorney General. Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced a lawsuit against Kroger and SSI Services in relation to alleged improper handling and removal of materials containing asbestos from Kroger.
The lawsuit maintains that Kroger and SSI conducted unsafe renovations by leaving chipped floor tiles that contained asbestos in areas accessible to the public while the store was open. This created a substantial danger to the health of customers and employees. There is no known safe exposure level to asbestos and inhalation can cause serious and fatal illnesses including malignant lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul blasted both Kroger and SSI in a statement where he said, “Kroger and SSI Services have jeopardized the public’s health by exposing shoppers and employees to dangerous materials containing asbestos. The asbestos must be remediated before members of the public are allowed back into this store. I am committed to ensuring that Kroger and SSI Services are held accountable for creating this hazard and for preventing any further harm to the pbulic’s health and the environment.”
The Attorney General says that the defendants failed to remove tiles and an adhesive known as mastic which both contain asbestos before doing work that would break up or dislodge the materials. Additionally, the complaint says the defendants failed to ensure that all materials containing asbestos remained wet until collected and contained or treated in preparation for disposal. Kroger and SSI also failed to dispose of all material that contained asbestos.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issued a seal order on July 29th to protect public health and Attorney General Raoul says that remediation must be met before the store is reopened. IEPA Director John J. Kim says, “ The Illinois EPA referred this case to the Attorney General’s Office to ensure Kroger and SSI are held responsible for the improper removal of asbestos in the store, resulting in an unacceptable risk to the store’s customers and employees. We are committed to ensuring the store is properly remediated prior to reopening for the safety of the employees and customers.”
Assistant Attorneys General Christina L. Nannini and Bridget I Flynn are handlin the case for Raoul’s Environmental Bureau.