Consumer Groups Step Up Pressure on Lowe’s, Home Depot to Stop Selling Cancer-Causing Weedkiller

3 june 2022

A coalition of consumer and environmental groups demanding Lowe’s stop selling glyphosate-based weedkillers installed a giant billboard outside the retailer’s headquarters detailing the dangers of the cancer-causing products to wildlife and humans.


Sustainable Pulse

lowes roundup pesticides feature

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On the day of its annual shareholder meeting, Lowe’s is under renewed pressure to stop selling cancer-linked, pollinator-toxic weedkiller glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, as a coalition of consumer and environmental groups installed a giant billboard outside of company headquarters.

The billboard features a video (see below) detailing the dangers of glyphosate to Lowe’s customers and endangered species, including bees and other pollinators, and demanding the home and garden giant immediately remove Roundup and other products containing glyphosate from its shelves.

Bayer announced plans to remove cancer-linked glyphosate from weedkiller Roundup by 2023 for the U.S. consumer market, following a series of large class-action lawsuits by cancer patients who claim the weedkiller caused their illness.

It’s time to listen to your customers @HomeDepot @Lowes! Take cancer-linked, pollinator-toxic Roundup off your shelves! #RejectRoundup

— Friends of the Earth (Action) (@foe_us) May 22, 2022

As the second-largest home and garden retailer in the U.S., Lowe’s can play a huge role in ending the use of this toxic weedkiller in our backyards and across the country. A recent analysis released by coalition member groups shows that half of herbicides sold by Lowe’s contain highly hazardous ingredients.

Friends of the Earth and allies are campaigning for Lowe’s and Home Depot to immediately end sales of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weedkillers based on science linking the chemical to cancer and other serious health concerns, as well as threats to pollinators and endangered species.

Urging that the health of people and pollinators can’t wait, the groups contend that unless major home and garden retailers act now, consumers and threatened species will continue to use and be exposed to glyphosate via Roundup for the next year.

The coalition, backed by 124 other organizations, is demanding Lowe’s build on its earlier commitments to phase out bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides and its broader chemical policy by taking decisive action on glyphosate and shifting to safer alternatives.

This week, Friends of the Earth led a national week of action along with SumOfUs, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety, Green America, Herbicide Free Campus, Toxic Free NC and Kids Right to Know.

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Thousands of people have taken to social media, called and sent emails to Lowe’s executives. Individual shareholders also submitted questions to company leaders.

“It’s reckless for Lowe’s to keep selling glyphosate when safer organic alternatives exist,” said Paolo Mutia, food and agriculture campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “Lowe’s must build on earlier commitments to phase out bee-toxic neonic pesticides and its chemical policy by immediately removing glyphosate products and ensuring alternatives are truly safer.”

Lacey Kohlmoos, U.S. campaign manager at SumOfUs, said Lowe’s claims to value its customers, “but company executives are putting their customers’ health at risk by refusing to take this toxic weedkiller off its shelves.”

Kohlmoss added:

“We hope that hearing directly from concerned customers and shareholders will convince Marvin Ellison and the other Lowe’s executives to value health and safety over profit margins, and finally get rid of Roundup and other glyphosate products linked to cancer.”

Emma Kriss, food campaigns manager at Green America, pointed out that consumers are increasingly looking for green, non-toxic practices as they move to more organic gardening and lawn care.

“Lowe’s should move away from selling Roundup and other harmful products, offering products that are safer for people and the planet,” Kriss said.

Sheina Crystal, director of communications and campaigns at Herbicide-Free Campus, said the time is now to phase out these toxic chemicals.

Crystal said:

“We are facing code-red biodiversity and climate crises and it is shameful that Lowe’s and Home Depot continue to prioritize profit over people and the planet.

“Viable alternatives to glyphosate-based products exist. How many more people must get cancer from Roundup before these giant corporations take action to protect their customers?”

Rebecca Spector, West Coast director of Center for Food Safety, called on Lowes to demonstrate “bold leadership that prioritizes environmental stewardship and human health over short-term profits.”

Lowe’s customers shouldn’t have to wait for Bayer/Monsanto to stop producing a product that’s been found to cause cancer, Spector said.

Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the world. It is a probable human carcinogen and has been linked to kidney disease, shortened pregnancy, endocrine disruption, DNA damage, decreased sperm function, disruption of the gut microbiome, and fatty liver disease.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found glyphosate can injure or kill 93% of U.S. endangered species. It is a primary driver of monarch butterfly population declines and has been linked to bee declines, disrupting bee gut microbiomes, affecting larval development, increasing colony vulnerability to pathogen infestation, and impairing navigation.

Since 2020, the coalition has delivered over 200,000 petition signatures; sent thousands of emails and letters to corporate executives; generated thousands of tweets and Facebook posts targeting the companies; taken out an ad in the Charlotte Observer; and released this video (see below) of Home Depot customers demanding action on social media.

According to Beyond Pesticides’ Science and Regulatory Manager Akayla Bracey:

“Dependency on toxic pesticides like the glyphosate-based products sold at Lowe’s contributes to the existential crises of human pesticide-induced or exacerbated illness, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency and calls for urgent action to eliminate their use. It is beyond time for Lowe’s to take these dangerous products off their shelves.”

Originally published by Sustainable Pulse.


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