ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE AND SAFER CHEMICALS HEALTHY FAMILIES

For immediate release: September 18, 2019

The Home Depot announces to stop selling carpets treated with toxic stain-resistant PFAS chemicals

Toronto, Ont. – Yesterday, The Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the world, announced that it will no longer purchase carpets and rugs treated with Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by December 31, 2019 in Canada, the U.S. and online.

PFAS chemicals are applied to carpets and rugs to make them stain-resistant but are linked to cancer and other adverse effects on the liver, kidney and the reproductive system. PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment, pose a significant threat to drinking water and aquatic ecosystems when released into waterways. They are produced from industrial activity, firefighting foam, and consumer goods such as treated fabrics, upholstery and cookware.

“Carpets treated with PFAS have been shown to release these harmful chemicals into the air and dust, which then enter our bodies and linger for a very long time,” says Muhannad Malas, Program Manager with Environmental Defence Canada. “Home Depot’s decision to stop selling carpets containing these chemicals will bring significant benefits to public and ecosystem health.” 

“We applaud The Home Depot for taking this important step to phase out the sale of carpets and rugs containing dangerous PFAS chemicals,” says Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families. “This move will help to end the nonstick nightmare that is contaminating people’s homes and communities. It will also help drive the growing market movement to healthier homes.”

The Home Depot’s decision to do away with PFAS in carpets builds on the company’s actions to phase out toxic chemicals in retail products. The company was the first to stop selling vinyl flooring with hormone-disrupting phthalates in 2015 and launched a chemical strategy in 2017. More recently, the company ended the sale of paint strippers containing methylene chloride and n-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).

Yesterday’s announcement by The Home Depot comes only two months before the release of the 2019 Who’s Minding the Store? Retailer Report Card, an annual report that benchmarks retailers’ progress in developing and implementing safer chemicals policies.

Environmental Defence and the Mind the Store campaign urge other top retailers of carpets to join The Home Depot in driving these chemicals out of their supply chains and call on the Canadian federal government to act quickly to ban these harmful chemicals and strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) in order to better protect people and the environment from toxics.

About ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (www.environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.

About SAFER CHEMICALS HEALTHY FAMILIES (www.saferchemicals.org): Safer Chemicals Healthy Families leads a U.S. nationwide coalition of organizations and businesses working to safeguard American families from toxic chemicals. The group’s Mind the Store campaign challenges big retailers to eliminate toxic chemicals and substitute safer alternatives.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Sarah Jamal, Environmental Defence, sjamal@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext. 251

Jamie Nolan, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, jamienolan@saferchemicals.org, 410-463-9869