Daily News Archive
June 16, 2006
Depot Forced To Pay Settlement In Connecticut
(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2006) In
a settlement reached on Wednesday, Home Depot agreed to pay nearly half
a million dollars to the state of Connecticut for “numerous violations
of environmental regulations” including improper pesticide disposal.
The settlement negotiations, according to the Boston
Globe, have been ongoing since 2004. The Atlanta
Business Chronicle noted that 13 stores failed to comply with various
hazardous waste, pesticide, and storm water management programs, as
well as the storage and treatment of the hazardous products themselves.
The stores disobeying state regulations were in North Haven, Berlin,
Norwalk, Fairfield, Southington, Danbury, West Hartford, Enfield, New
Hartford, Lisbon, Derby, Middletown and Waterbury.
McCarthy, the state Environmental Commissioner, announced that Home
Depot would pay Connecticut a penalty of $99,000 for their violation
of environmental regulations statewide, as well as providing an additional
$326,000 for a fund to further educate other companies regarding the
treatment of such dangerous chemicals. The
Hartford Courant reports that Home Depot must also detail an “environmental
management system” to forestall future difficulties. Finally,
the company must pay for a third-party audit to ensure their obedience
to the terms of the settlement.
Johnson, senior attorney for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment,
says that Home Depot should be implementing a program for hazardous
waste pickup in regards to pesticides and other chemicals being disposed
of at their stores. This would entail different dumpsters for these
products that would be picked up by a hazardous waste company and burned
at high temperatures, breaking down the chemical bonds.
Depot issued a statement assuring the public it was “committed
to compliance” with the state environmental laws. It is investigating
with manufacturers the possibility of stronger bags for these products
to prevent tears and spills from occurring. The
Danbury News described the changes Home Depot agreed to make in
addition to the monetary terms of the settlement, which include:
training for employees to educate them in the proper handling and
disposal of hazardous materials such as fertilizers, pesticides and
pressure treated wood;
Covering outdoor displays (previously left open and exposed to rain
water and weather conditions) to stop chemicals contaminating the
indoor displays to avoid unnecessary tearing of the bags by shopping
stronger bags which will rip less easily;
holes in bags to contain spills and avoid wasting products by throwing
the whole bag away.
Tell Home Depot to not only comply with the law, but to minimize the
environmental health and safety impacts of pesticides by carrying safer
alternative lawn care products. Copy the following letter and email
it to [email protected]
Home Depot, Inc.
2455 Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30339
Citizens across this country are becoming increasingly aware of the
hazards of pesticides and the switch from toxic to non-toxic lawn products
has begun. As a leader in the home and garden market, Home Depot should
be offering its customers a wider selection of natural, non-toxic lawn
products and training your employees on how to advise customers on natural
lawn care. Consistent with your sustainability policy, Home Depot should
immediately reconsider the sale of weed and feed products that broadcast
pesticides throughout an entire lawn and contribute greatly to water
pollution. Weed and feed products are in opposition to sound land care
management principles and pose hazards both to people and the environment.
As you are undoubtedly aware, organic food production and sales, which
many said would never capture much of the market, is today more an $11
billion industry and the demand continues to grow daily. We believe
the growth in demand for non-synthetic, chemical-free organic foods
will soon be matched by a growth in the sale of organic/natural lawn
care products and services. Recent surveys show more than half of all
households, some 40 million, are buying or seeking to buy non-toxic,
natural alternatives to lawn pesticides. Additional surveys tell us
that with a little information about the harm that pesticides can do
to children, families, pets, wildlife, drinking water and soil, demand
for these alternative products will rise substantially. Yet, major retailers
are barely touching this emerging market.
Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 14 are ‘probable’ or
‘possible’ carcinogens, the same amount are linked to birth
defects, 18 are linked to reproductive problems, 20 to liver or kidney
damage, and 18 to neurotoxicity. The impact of these chemicals on beneficial
organisms such as bees, earthworms, birds and fish is equally alarming.
If given a choice between a potential cancer-causing, fish-killing poison
to get rid of weeds and a natural biological or bacterial based product,
many more consumers would choose to go natural.