WASHINGTON – Sixty-six organizations representing over 7.5 million members sent letters to Home Depot and Lowe's today urging them to remove Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides from store shelves and online sales. The organizations, representing consumers, environmentalists, beekeepers and farmers, also urged the companies to expand sales of organic and other safer alternatives. Competitors Costco and B&Q have already announced commitments to phase out glyphosate-based products.
Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is the most widely used weedkiller in the world. Glyphosate is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization and has been linked to high rates of kidney disease in farming communities and to shortened pregnancy in a cohort of women in the Midwest. Animal studies and bioassays link glyphosate and its formulations to Parkinson's, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, decreased sperm function, disruption of the gut microbiome, and fatty liver disease.
In the environment, glyphosate is a primary driver of Monarch butterfly declines and has been associated with harm to honeybees including negative impacts on larval development, cognitive abilities, colony parasite load, and gut microbiota.
After a spate of high profile lawsuits linking plaintiffs' cancer to glyphosate exposure, manufacturer Bayer agreed to pay $10 billion to settle an additional 95,000 cases out of court. However, Roundup will continue to be sold for use on yards, school grounds, public parks, and farms without any safety warning.
"Home and garden stores can make a significant difference in reducing the use of this toxic product," said Kendra Klein, senior staff scientist at Friends of the Earth. "Research shows that homeowners use up to 10 times more chemical pesticides per acre on their lawns than farmers use on crops. It's reckless to sell consumers products linked to cancer when safer organic alternatives exist. Home Depot and Lowe's should build on their earlier commitments to phase out harmful neonicotinoid pesticides by taking decisive action on glyphosate."
"In the absence of adequate government protections, retailers should step up and act responsibly by ending the sale of products containing glyphosate that are known to have negative impacts on human health and the environment, including pollinators such as Monarch butterflies," said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director at Center for Food Safety.
"Regulatory agencies have failed to protect us. Young people are taking their health into their own hands and demanding that Home Depot and Lowe's remove glyphosate-based herbicides from the shelves. We have sufficient scientific evidence to know the adverse effects these products have on our own bodies, as well as on the environment. It is Home Depot and Lowe's responsibility to protect the many people who still use these products and are unaware of the risks," said Mackenzie Feldman, Executive Director at Herbicide-Free Campus.
"The research is clear — glyphosate is harmful to people and the planet. Especially during a year when so many Americans turned to gardening during the pandemic, Home Depot and Lowe's have a very real responsibility to keep this chemical out of our homes and communities," said Jes Walton, Food Campaigns Director at Green America.
"Most home gardeners don't fully understand the potential dangers of spraying these chemicals on their lawns and in their gardens. And who knows when U.S. government officials will pass legislation banning products containing glyphosate," said Lacey Kohlmoos, U.S. Campaign Manager at SumOfUs. "It is up to Home Depot and Lowe's to do the right thing and take this cancer-linked poison off their shelves."
"As leading retailers of garden pesticides, supplies, and equipment, Lowe's and Home Depot can continue to contribute to the poisoning of people and environment, or they can help their customers take on the existential crises of pesticide-induced diseases, like cancer, climate change, and biodiversity decline through the sale of products compatible with organic land management," said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.