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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: February 1, 2010
CONTACT: Sharon Yergeau, 603 271-2918
Jim Martin, 603 271-3710

Barnes & Noble Pays Fine for Lead in Store Bag
First Fine for Toxics in Packaging Levied in NH

Concord, NH - Commissioner Thomas S. Burack of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services announced today the execution of an Administrative Fine by Consent Agreement with Barnes & Noble, Inc. of New York City in the amount of $3,000. The Agreement resolves alleged violations of the state’s Toxics in Packaging laws.

Under the terms of the agreement, Barnes & Noble, which operates five retail stores in New Hampshire, has not admitted liability for the alleged violations but will pay administrative fines totaling $3,000 to the State. The fines resolve allegations that the company distributed plastic store bags that contained high levels of lead and failed to submit Certificates of Compliance upon request.

In June and in August 2008, the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH), which coordinates implementation of the law on behalf of ten state members, notified Barnes & Noble of the potential violation and requested a Certificate of Compliance and supporting documentation to prove compliance. State toxics in packaging laws require the submittal of Certificates of Compliance within 60 days of receiving a request. Commissioner Burack said, “New Hampshire passed the toxics in packaging law in 1990, so this is not a new law. We conduct outreach with nine other states through the TPCH, which provided Barnes & Noble the opportunity to address problem without enforcement.”

Once contacted by the States of Iowa and Washington in the spring of 2009, Barnes & Noble began removing non-compliant bags from circulation. Payment of the administrative fine followed an Administrative Order issued to Barnes & Noble by DES in September 2009. The Barnes & Noble response to the Administrative Order included a statement that the company had removed the non-compliant bags from all of its New Hampshire stores prior to the date of the Administrative Order.

For more information on this case or on New Hampshire’s toxics in packaging law, contact Sharon Yergeau, Planning, Prevention & Assistance Unit, at 603 271-2918.

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