The chemical safety consumer advocacy group that pushed for the change hopes the move marks a first step in the right direction for Walmart.
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is applauding Walmart for adhering — at least in part — to its Mind The Store campaign calling on the nation’s largest retailer to drop hazardous chemicals from its shelves. Yet Walmart’s compliance falls short of what the campaign calls for, highlighting a public relations move by a company that won’t even disclose the chemicals it plans to ban.
Walmart indicated it would drop 10 chemicals from its shelves, although wouldn’t disclose to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families the names of these chemicals. The only indication given was that they were part of the organization’s 100 toxic chemicals list, published through its Mind the Store campaign.
Safer Chemicals, Safer Families, the nation’s leading chemical safety consumer advocacy group, is applauding Walmart’s move, using it as a starting point to dig deeper into the campaign and hoping one step in the right direction will lead to more.
“While the number of chemicals is limited, the action is meaningful,” Andy Igrejas, executive director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said in a press release. “They are not just moving away from several known toxic chemicals but are going deeper, using their position to make sure the alternatives are safer. That’s progress that can ripple across the marketplace.”
The campaigns list of chemicals commonly sold throughout national retailers includes 100 chemicals of “high concern,” determined through chemicals’ known links to chronic diseases and conditions, including infertility, developmental disabilities, behavioral problems and cancer.
Among the chemicals included on the top 100 list is triclosan, a pesticide found in toothpastes, yoga mats, soap, cosmetics and cutting boards — and a known hormone disruptor. According to the campaign, the pesticide has already been discovered in waterways and breast milk, indicating its influence on American consumers. Its potential health impacts include antibiotic resistance, impaired muscle function, endocrine system disruption and infertility.
Another chemical on the list is formaldehyde, notorious for its links to cancer and found in products most consumers wouldn’t guess, including lotions, shampoos, baby wash, shower gels and “wrinkle-free” clothing and linens.
All chemicals included in the organization’s list were determined to be linked to such conditions, based on studies conducted by state offices of environmental health, disease control, environmental protection and pollution control.
In addition to ridding its stores from an unspecified group of 10 chemicals, Walmart indicated it would also move to disclose some other chemicals used in its products while it phases out the 10 considered by the campaign to be toxic.
“Clearly, the problem is much bigger, but Walmart’s announcement today appears to be a meaningful down payment on an enhanced chemical policy,” Igrejas said. “We urge the other retailers to both learn from and improve upon it.”
Other retailers targeted through the campaign include Best Buy, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Lowe’s, Safeway and Home Depot, to name a few.