Friday, September 27, 2013

Wal-Mart phases out 10 toxic chemicals

America's largest retailer says it will try to get its suppliers to disclose and eventually phase out 10 potentially toxic chemicals.

Many cleaning products and fragrances
contain hazardous chemicals.
Prodded by health and environmental advocates, Wal-Mart Stores announced that it will require suppliers to disclose and eventually phase out nearly 10 hazardous chemicals from the fragrances, cosmetics, household cleaners and personal care products at its stores.

The nation's largest retailer said that, beginning in January 2014, it would begin to monitor progress on reducing these chemicals and apply to its own brand of cleaning products the Environmental Protection Agency's Design for the Environment label, which identifies eco-friendly goods. It declined to name the targeted chemicals, saying it will take time to familiarize suppliers with the new policy.

Wal-Mart joins an industry shift away from potentially toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Procter & Gamble also announced plans to eliminate hormone-like phthalates and the antibacterial triclosan. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove those two chemicals, along with formaldehyde and parabens, from its personal care products worldwide.

Wal-Mart said it would share best practices with other members of the Sustainability Consortium, a group of companies including Procter & Gamble that aim to reduce the environmental toll of global consumption.

Consumer advocates call the move a significant step, since large retailers like Wal-Mart can impact the whole industry.

Retailers have shown more willingness to act than the federal government. The U.S. Toxic Control Substances Act hasn't had a major update since its passage in 1976, and many chemicals used in consumer products aren't federally tested or required to submit safety data.

In fact, many stores pre-empted a 2012 federal ban on bisphenol-A (BPA) by no longer selling baby products containing the hormone-disrupting chemical.

Wal-Mart said that, beginning in January 2015, it would require suppliers to disclose ingredients online for items sold at its stores, and In January 2016, it would begin to report publicly on what progress is being made.

Source: USA Today

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