(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2008) In the wake of provincial laws banning lawn chemicals, the Canadian division of Home Depot announced on April 22, 2008 that it will stop selling traditional pesticides in its stores across Canada by the end of 2008 and will increase its selection of environmentally friendly alternatives. Home Depot Canada is the first major home improvement retailer to stop selling pesticides nationwide.The decision coincides with legislation introduced on April 23, which bans the sale and cosmetic use of pesticides on lawns, gardens and parks in the Canadian province of Ontario. Quebec passed a similar ban in 2003. Additionally, there are currently over 55 municipalities in Canada where the residential use, but not sale, of pesticides is banned. Other garden supply and grocery stores have also stopped selling pesticides in Ontario and Quebec, but the Home Depot decision will affect stores nationwide.
Environmental and public health activists believe the provincial bans and Home Depot phase-outs demonstrate that the country has reached a tipping point. “I would say that now that we have Quebec and Ontario, there is huge pressure on the other provinces. The next obvious one would be British Columbia.” Gideon Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment told the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail. “In terms of a cost-benefit analysis [of pesticide products], there is zero health benefit and the potential risk is enormous.”
The chain plans to begin the phase-out immediately. By June, Home Depot anticipates that 62 of its Canadian stores will no longer sell pesticides, with all 166 stores offering environmentally preferred replacement products by the end of 2008. A total of 60 products will be affected.
“Like our customers, we, at the Home Depot, are concerned about the environment,” said Annette Verschuren, president of the Home Depot Canada and Asia. “We are going above and beyond government regulations by working with our suppliers to develop pesticide alternatives that are environmentally friendly and produce excellent results on lawns and gardens.”
The actions in Canada are also in stark contrast to the United States, where Home Depot’s U.S. parent continues to sell these products nationally.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Home Depot that U.S. residents deserve the same healthy communities as Canada. Demand that the company expand its Canadian decision to include all stores in the U.S. and around the globe. Contact: Home Depot Headquarters, Brad Shaw, Sr. Vice President – Corporate Communications and External Affairs, Chairman – Home Depot Environmental Council, 2455 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30339, 770-433-8211 (phone), 770-384-4211 (fax).