Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Home Depot Is Removing Formaldehyde as Part of Push to Go Green

  • Retailer says it’s also working to boost ingredient disclosure
  • Company will eliminate chemicals from paints and flooring

Home Depot Inc. is eliminating substances like formaldehyde and lead in several categories, making it the latest retailer to accede to demands for greener products.

The changes are part of a broader plan to minimize or disclose harmful substances in the paints, carpets, insulation and flooring it sells, the Atlanta-based retailer said on Wednesday.

Home Depot follows Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and other large retailers that have moved to both disclose the chemicals in the products they sell and remove them whenever possible. The world’s largest home-improvement company says it’s working with suppliers and groups like the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council to find safer components.

Home Depot said it has “significantly improved” its paints in the past decade, removing triclosan, lead, and formaldehyde from the latex-based wall paint it sells in the U.S. and Canada. It has also eliminated substances such as vinyl chloride and perfluorooctanoic acid from the indoor wall-to-wall carpeting it sells.

There’s been increased scrutiny of the home-improvement sector after Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. was accused by short sellers in 2015 of offering laminate flooring with unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a substance that has been linked to cancer. 

That led to an investigation by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission that ended last year without a recall. The company agreed to stop selling Chinese-made laminate flooring and offer free tests to customers. While Lumber Liquidators’ sales have rebounded, its stock price is still half of what it was before the allegations.

As part of the announcement, Home Depot said formaldehyde is excluded from the paints, carpet and insulation it sells. In laminate flooring, the company set the level allowed at 0.0073 parts per million. That’s lower than the 0.05 ppm required by California, which has the strictest rules in the U.S.

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