MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is phasing out carpets and rugs that contain a group of potentially harmful industrial chemicals that have been turning up in drinking water and some foods.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Sarah Lively said Wednesday that the Mooresville, North Carolina-based chain started the transition a year ago. She didn’t answer other questions.

Lowe’s competitor Home Depot announced last month that it would phase out carpets and rugs containing PFAS chemicals by the end of this year.

PFAS chemicals are used in firefighting foam, nonstick pots and pans, water-repellent clothing and many other household and personal items. They are nicknamed “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment.

Studies have associated certain PFAS chemicals with increased risk of cancer and damage to organs such as the liver and thyroid.