Let's Not Talk About Arsenic

Newspapers in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Boston, including chains owned by the publishers of The Wall Street Journal and the Boston Herald, are refusing to carry a paid advertisement criticizing retail giant Home Depot for selling lumber treated with dangerous amounts of arsenic, according to a news release from the Healthy Building Network and the Environmental Working Group. The ad timed to run as the two groups released a report that found that one in 500 children who play regularly on playground equipment or decks made from arsenic-treated wood can be expected to develop cancer later in life as a result of this exposure. "Home Depot spends millions of dollars each year advertising its products, including arsenic-treated wood, and some of those ads specifically claim that arsenic-treated wood is safe," said Bill Walsh, director of Healthy Building Network. "For these newspapers to run whole sections of Home Depot's ads, then refuse to sell us less than a page of space denies their readers access to balanced information about a very real threat to their kids' health."