It’s probably not in your garage, or on your shopping list. But how many of your neighbors will spray their lawns and gardens this summer with Roundup herbicide, thus exposing you (and your family and pets)—possibly without your knowledge and definitely against your wishes—to Monsanto’s cancer-causing chemicals?
If the answer is one, it’s one too many. With everything we’ve learned about the health risks of exposure to Roundup (and its key active ingredient, glyphosate), and the lengths to which Monsanto has gone to hide those risks, no ethical retailer should still be selling Roundup to consumers.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!
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On one of its Roundup product labels, Monsanto boasts: “Kills Weeds not the Lawn.” What the label doesn’t tell you is that Roundup can also kill people—just ask the hundreds of people suing Monsanto for failing to warn them that Roundup is linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
According to a 2015 article in National Geographic, Roundup is the second-best-selling herbicide in the U.S. for home lawn and garden use. Under a lucrative contract with Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro owns the exclusive right to market Roundup in North America and much of Europe. Scotts distributes about $154 million worth (5.5 percent of the company’s total sales) of Roundup each year to retail giants, including Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart.
The Scotts deal with Monsanto would be a lot less lucrative if Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart took Monsanto’s poison off their shelves—something retailers in other countries have already done.
Marketed as safe for consumers, but it’s not
Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart (and other stores that sell Roundup) play to consumers’ “lawn vanity” by promoting Roundup as a “safe” and “easy” remedy for common (and harmless) weeds like dandelions.
Home Depot’s online stores lists no less than 35 Roundup products, of varying sizes and strengths, all available for in-store pick-up—one that even comes with a “comfort wand.”
From Amazon.com, consumers can buy a 2.5-gallon container of “Roundup PRO” that “treats” up to 435,600 sq. ft.
Walmart promotes a “convenient, no-mix formula” of Roundup that produces “visible results in 3 hours.”
None of the stores mention any of the potential health risks of exposure to Roundup. Yet, it’s no secret that the so-called “safety” of Roundup has been questioned by many of the world’s top scientists.
In March 2015, a panel of 17 scientists from 11 countries, representing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), unanimously agreed that Roundup is a “probable human carcinogen.” The IARC’s classification came as no surprise to the many other scientists who have, for years, questioned the safety of glyphosate.
In March (2017), California became the first state to require a warning label on Roundup, under a law that requires any consumer product that contains a potential carcinogen be labeled as such. But no other state requires warning labels on Roundup.
Last month (April 2017), the Organic Consumers Association and Beyond Pesticides sued Monsanto for misleading the public by labeling its popular Roundup as “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets. In fact, as we state in our complaint, the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is found in people and pets.
There are alternatives
When Germany’s largest retailer, Toom Baumarkt, announced it would no longer sell Roundup, company executives cited their commitment to “looking for alternatives and more environmentally friendly options to protect the environment and nature.”
In fact, alternatives—both safe and effective—exist.
In his article, “Transitioning to an Organic Lawn Care Program is Simple if You Follow These 3 Steps,” Chip Osborne, founder and president of Osborne Organics, says that managing a residential lawn is different from managing a public park or a playing field, but the principles are the same:
It is the principles of a system based approach to natural land management that dictate the first steps to take as well as the proper sequence of those steps for every program.
Could Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart compete with other retailers of lawncare products, if they dropped Roundup?
If the Eldredge Lumber & Hardware store is any indication, yes. The Maine-based chain hasn’t suffered one bit since abandoning all pesticides and weed-killer products that synthetic chemicals—including bee-killing neonicotinoids and Roundup. In the year following its decision to drop those products, sales in the lawn and gardening department were up over 30 percent in the last year, he says.
It’s time for some of the leading U.S. retailers—Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart—to follow the lead of big retail chains in other countries, and some of their smaller competitors here at home, by stocking their shelves with safe, organic alternatives to Roundup weedkiller.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!