If someone challenged me to find a product that was the embodiment of environmental devastation, I think Raid Earth Options would be a frontrunner. When I first saw the commercials, I scoffed at the "flower power" derived from Chrysanthemums to kill pests and quickly wrote this off as just another expensive greenwash campaign. As I started to dig a little deeper though, I realized that this product line is MUCH worse than I could have imagined.
I wasn't able to find an actual bottle of Earth Options in Vancouver (fortunately) so I couldn't find out exactly what the active pesticide is, but I did find a lot of information on Raid's own website.
To begin with, I was a little surprised to see that "algae" was listed as a pest that could be managed by the Raid Earth Options product line. This became even more alarming when I read the "precautions" section and it was noted "This product is toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish and invertebrates. Drift and run-off may be hazardous to aquatic organisms in water adjacent to treated areas. This product may contaminate water through runoff. This product has a potential for runoff for several weeks after application."
Hmm, also alarming is the contradictory information about spraying on or near food, on the main product page the first line is "Do not contaminate food or feedstuffs," which is followed by a list of outdoor applications further down the page. The outdoor applications are effectively a list of food plants that you may use Earth Options on; it even ends with the line "Spray may be applied up to and including day of harvest," which presumably would be followed by thorough washing and rinsing into the water system.
And to cap it off approximately half of the "Environmental Hazards" section discusses how toxic this spray is to bees. Yes, BEES, the species that is responsible for approximately 30% of our crops and currently dying off in massive numbers.
You may be thinking that the crackerjack marketing team over at Raid really never claimed to be providing the world with an environmentally friendly product, and of course they are in the business of killing living creatures or "pests." But the implication of naming your product "Earth Options" and marketing "Flower Power" as an alternative to traditional Raid products just seems criminal to me. The greenwash is complete with a package design featuring lush leaves and green and white packaging that has become ubiquitous with green and eco-friendly products.
(Image: Raid Bugs by Jack Davis via flickr.com)