Starbucks is facing two lawsuits in New York for allegedly using no-pest strips containing a chemical that could be deadly if ingested in its Manhattan stores. One of the lawsuits claims the strips were put near food.
According to USA TODAY, the chemical is identified as Dichlorvos or DDVP. The Environmental Protection Agency has labeled DDVP a potential cancer-causing agent in humans. It can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says symptoms of exposure can range from eye and skin irritation to paralysis, convulsions and cardiac irregularities.
According to one lawsuit, the Hot Shot No-Pest 2 strips were allegedly put inside food display cases, next to equipment where food was prepared, next to air vents and under counters, USA TODAY reports.
The Hot Shot website has this warning about the strips: "Do not use in kitchens, restaurants or areas where food is prepared or served."
A second lawsuit filed by the same law firm accuses Starbucks of gross negligence, USA TODAY reported. Among the plaintiffs is an exterminator who worked at the locations, a woman who worked for a pest control company contracted by Starbucks and a former store manager. He claims he was fired for complaining about the strips and for "improper payroll practices" he found.
According to NBC News, a Starbucks spokesperson admitted the strips were used against company policy, but that they were removed once it was made aware of the complaints. The spokesperson also reportedly said an outside expert hired by Starbucks determined there was no risk to customers or employees.