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Home Depot Slapped With $1.6M Fine for Illegal Harmful Products

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Clear Facts

  • Home Depot was recently fined $1.6 million by the Washington Department of Ecology (WDE) for selling banned hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) products, harmful to the earth’s ozone layer.
  • The retailer is alleged to have continued to sell the prohibited products despite the WDE’s efforts to bring them into compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Home Depot has 30 days to appeal the fine to Washington’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.

As the season of gardening and home renovations has begun, many people are flocking to stores like Home Depot. However, shoppers may be taken aback by the retailer’s involvement in an ongoing banned product controversy.

“HFCs are chemicals composed of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon. They’re commonly used in air conditioning and refrigeration, in producing insulating foams, and as propellants. These greenhouse gases are short-lived ‘super pollutants’ and can have a global warming potential thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide,” the WDE explains on its website.

Despite this knowledge, Home Depot has been accused of selling HFC products, specifically R-134a canisters, known to have a “global warming potential 1,430 times that of carbon dioxide,” according to the WDE.

“Limiting HFC products and equipment is crucial to achieving the state’s statutory greenhouse gas emission limits and ultimately reaching net zero by 2050,” said Joel Creswell, who manages Ecology’s Climate Pollution Reduction Program.

The WDE had previously informed businesses, including Home Depot, about the new HFC regulations that came into effect in November 2021. While most companies complied with the guidelines, Home Depot allegedly did not. The WDE asserts that the retailer continued to make the now-banned R-134a canisters available to customers both in-store and online.

The WDE reportedly hosted meetings with Home Depot’s compliance teams between 2021 and 2023 to assist the retailer in adhering to the regulations. The WDE was assured that the identified products would no longer be available for purchase in Washington and that no new prohibited products would be added to the retailer’s offering.

However, a compliance check in July 2023 revealed that Home Depot was still selling the banned products. Between April 2022 and September 2023, it was found that 1,058 units of the banned products were purchased in Washington.

With each violation costing $1,500, Home Depot is now faced with a substantial $1.6 million fine. The fine was originally set at $10,000 per violation but was reduced by the WDE. Home Depot now has 30 days to appeal the decision to Washington’s Pollution Control Hearings Board. This controversy could potentially lead customers to reconsider their choice of retailer for their home improvement needs.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Kirk Augustin

    July 4, 2024 at 6:58 pm

    Your article on Home Depot being sued for selling freon R134a, has to be WRONG! All car AC uses freon R134a, and is perfectly legal to sell. It is ONLY R12a that is illegal, and I have not seen that sold for over 20 years.
    All automotive stores sell freon R134A. It is not harmful and there is no alternative.
    There is no question your article is totally mistaken.

    • Loretta Cogar

      July 5, 2024 at 7:30 am

      You’re wrong about the R134A. R12 has been banned but older vehicles use the R134A and a lot of home & Central A.C. the newer vehicles use R1234. i know this is true as that’s what my vehicle uses (R1234) and it costs about $500.00 to recharge your vehicles A.C. because only Dealerships can afford the training to use it. I’ve had several Garages and Dealerships tell me this.
      I’m Retired and low income so I’ve not been able to recharge mine in 2 years. This is just another way for the government to ban products by blaming Global Warming. The Earth heats and cools on a cycle and right now we are in a warming cycle.

    • David L Sims

      July 5, 2024 at 12:02 pm

      This is perfect Washington logic, fine retailers for selling items supposedly bad for the environment, but necessary for AC usage while complaining about it causing the state not to reach it planned environmental goal. As far as I know the state hasn’t reached even a quarter its stated yearly goals of reducing carbon, sooo I’d ask the state to get their own house in order before dictating to others.

  2. Don

    July 4, 2024 at 7:27 pm

    Your right R134A is what replace R12, haven’t seen R12 available anywhere for years…

  3. SAMSON

    July 4, 2024 at 7:35 pm

    Another government agency making up laws ? I thought the chevron case Was getting rid of these agencies.

  4. COSMO AUSSIE

    July 4, 2024 at 8:10 pm

    As a trained HIVAC technician anyone and everyone who works with refrigeration knows that HFC’s DO NOT rise up in the atmosphere HFC’s go downward towards the ground which is why anyone sweating in a new fridge compressor is trained to get up off the floor if they see the flame turn GREEN in color, that’s because HFC’s heated to 1000 degrees then turns into Phosgene Gas a chemical used in WW-I trench warfare. and we are taught to get off the floor because HFC’s go down NOT UP into the atmosphere, they hug the floor.

  5. Michael O'Connor

    July 4, 2024 at 8:12 pm

    If the government wants to save the planet, they better get off their butts and go after China, India, Pakistan, Russia as thet=y are some of the major polluters around the world, not the hard working people who provide job and futures for Americans.

  6. Patty

    July 5, 2024 at 12:58 am

    Why not go after the REAL polluters like China, India, Pakistan and others who have NO carbon controls? Why just the u.s? This is a load of B.S!

  7. Dr. Caligary

    July 5, 2024 at 8:50 am

    Travel to Mexico or South America and see what can be purchased there that cannot be purchased here. Let’s start with the termiticide Chlordane!

  8. barbara gordon

    July 6, 2024 at 12:47 pm

    if a product is illegal why is it on the market

  9. tom hidsen

    July 9, 2024 at 1:14 am

    Written by a woke liberal, no doubt. I doubt anyone would stop going to Home d simply because they sold a product perfectly legal in all states except Washington. As the others have pointed out, all cars are currently using r134a in their ac so the writer of this is very mixed up. The writer himself probably has R134a own his own car. Liberals are nuts.

  10. Leslie Shaftner

    July 11, 2024 at 9:46 am

    Is this a political move because Home Depot backs Trump ?????

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