It’s now official: None of the Big Three in the home improvement retail game are directly denying a new report’s accusations that they’ve been selling “bee-friendly” flowers and plants that actually contain bee-harmful pesticides.
Walmart has issued a statement that sounds very similar to the non-denial responses from Home Depot and Lowe’s earlier this week to a study by the Pesticide Research Institute. The group tested samples of plants sold at major garden retailers in 18 cities across the U.S. and Canada and found more than half had traces of a potentially bee-toxic insecticide called “neonicotinoid.”
“Walmart shares the concern of others regarding pollinator health, including the health of bees,” Walmart spokeswoman Susan Saronitman wrote in an emailed response to the report. “We are actively engaging with many stakeholders, including scientists, suppliers farmers and customers to explore additional steps we can take to enhance the health of bees and other pollinators in the food and garden supply chaines.”
What Friends of the Earth, Boston’s Toxic Action Center and the other groups associated with the new study want is for major retailers and all the other garden centers to halt all sales of plants with bee-toxic pesticides.
None of the responses from Walmart, Home Depot or Lowe’s mentioned even the possibility of that sort of action. The closest any of them came to the central issue was the Home Depot statement, which stated it planned to have its suppliers label any plants with neonicotinoid by the last quarter of 2014.