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Consumer Products

The Home Depot bans PFAS-treated carpets

Home improvement retailer says policy will minimize the environmental impact of the products it sells

by Marc S. Reisch
September 21, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 37


A photo of a person laying carpet.
Credit: Shutterstock
Rising concern over PFAS influenced The Home Depot to ban their use in carpets.

The Home Depot plans to stop selling carpets and rugs treated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which impart soil and stain resistance. The big home improvement retailer says the new policy, which will go into effect at the end of the year, will reduce the environmental impact of the products it sells at its US and Canadian stores.

A number of PFAS—nicknamed “forever chemicals” because of their environmental persistence—are linked to a number of health problems, including cancer. The move continues a trend among major retailers to remove from shelves products made with chemicals of concern.

The Home Depot had previously committed to stop selling carpets treated with two specific PFAS: perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonate, chemicals widely used in an earlier generation of soil- and stain-resistant finishes for carpets. The firm’s chemical strategy, published in 2017, forbade carpeting containing other chemicals, such as triclosan and vinyl chloride.

The Home Depot PFAS ban “will help to end the nonstick nightmare that is contaminating people’s homes and communities across the country,” Mike Schade, director of the Mind the Store campaign, says in a statement. “Other top retailers of carpets should join the Home Depot in driving these chemicals out of their supply chains,” he adds.

Other retailers have banned chemicals in consumer products, some with prodding from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a consortium of consumer advocacy groups that runs the Mind the Store campaign. Last year, Rite Aid said it engaged with the consortium to draw up a chemical policy and an expanded list of chemicals it would restrict in private-label health, personal care, and household products on its store shelves.

Amazon published a chemical policy last year with a restricted-substances list for private-label goods that includes formaldehyde and quaternium-15. Other retailers with chemical policies include Costco, Walmart, and CVS.



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