Home Depot to phase out bee-killing pesticides but leaves a small back door open

Bee collapse statement, EinsteinBee collapse is a serious problem in this country. And while there is still discussion as to what the underlying cause of this is, there is much evidence that toxic neonicotinoids are harmful to wildlife, especially to bees.

Back in 2013, the European Commission banned the use of a number of these harmful insecticides. According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), “the chemical should be withdrawn from the market given the evidence of harm and scale of the risk.”

Retailers and organizations in the U.S. have been slower to move towards banning the use of these popular products. But since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior announced in 2014 that they would phase out the use of “neonics” – and after a number of online petitions demanding the same – U.S. retailers have steadily been jumping on this bandwagon.

The latest to join this important movement is Home Depot. While they are their Canadian affiliates made the move to require all plants that used neonicotinoids be labeled as such as of last year, it was only this week, after much public pressure, that the retailer decided to take the plunge.

Their website states:

Bees-exposed-to-systemic-pesticides-are-unable-to-gather-enough-pollen-neonicotinoids-kill-honeybees“We have been in communication with the EPA, insecticide industry and our suppliers to understand the science and monitor the research. … Our live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, so that now over 80% of our flowering plants are not treated with neonicotinoids.”

They continue by saying “we will have a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on our live goods by the end of 2018.”

But here’s the slight backdoor the company has left itself:

“We will continue (the) decrease unless,
1) it is required by state or federal regulation, or
2) undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on our live goods does not have a lethal or sub lethal effect on pollinators.”

So it’s good news up front, but…  Seems that public opinion goes only so far. But dollars do speak volumes to retailers. So consumers may need to continue to be vigilant and to speak up. In the end, consumer demand is what drives the market.

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