The first-of-its-kind announcement addresses the public health crisis of “forever chemicals”—which can now be found in the blood of virtually every American.
In a significant step to protect public health, the Home Depot—the largest home improvement store in the world—will no longer sell carpeting that contains PFAS chemicals in the United States or Canada. It’s the first major U.S. home improvement retailer to address the use of these “forever chemicals,” which do not break down easily and accumulate in both our bodies and the food we eat.
“The Home Depot is sending a message to the entire home goods industry and carpet manufacturers, making clear that these chemicals have no place in American homes,” says Sujatha Bergen, director of health campaigns for NRDC.
PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of chemicals commonly used in consumer goods like nonstick cookware, grease-proof food packaging, personal care products, and stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpeting. Ubiquitous and highly mobile, PFAS are now detectable in the blood of virtually every American—as well as in drinking water systems that serve millions.
These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer, hormone malfunction, abnormal fetal and child development, and other health problems, even at extremely low doses. “By stopping the sale of these carpets, retailers can shut down a major route of exposure to PFAS and all the associated health threats that come with it,” Bergen says.
There are currently at least 4,700 chemicals in the PFAS class. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have any restrictions on their use, nor does it require companies to disclose usage to consumers. The long-awaited PFAS Action Plan released by the EPA earlier this year failed to take strong, decisive action to protect the public from this dangerous class of chemicals.
“Policymakers should follow Home Depot’s lead and ensure that all Americans are protected from this class of chemicals in all products,” Bergen says.”Retailers and consumers alike are rejecting them."