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Safety

Group grades retailers on safer chemicals in products

Walmart, Target get highest marks for reducing priority chemicals of concern

by Melody M. Bomgardner
December 5, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 48

A new report gives 11 major U.S. retailers an average grade of D+ in meeting rising consumer demand for safer products, though it also found major progress at some firms.

The assessment is part of the three-year-old Mind the Store campaign by the advocacy group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. It scored the companies on policies and actions that remove hazardous chemicals from products they carry, disclose product ingredients, and promote third-party product safety standards.

The Mind the Store campaign found that three companies—Walmart, Target, and CVS Health—have made big strides in reducing or eliminating chemicals such as phthalates, triclosan, bisphenol A, formaldehyde, and polyvinyl chloride.

But the report called out Amazon, Costco, Albertsons, and Kroger for lacking public, written safer chemical policies. In addition, it found that “Costco was surprisingly the only major retailer that did not publicly report any progress in eliminating chemicals of high concern over the past three years.” The group warned retailers to ensure phased-out chemicals are not replaced with substances that have similar hazards or have not been closely evaluated.

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