Consumers wanting and needing to avoid chemicals of concern in their personal care and home care products just got some good news from one major retailer–they are removing 90,000 of those chemicals from products on their shelves . Hopefully other retailers will follow suit. We reported on Walmart’s plans to remove toxic chemicals from their shelves year before last and are pleased to see it was not all about good PR. When it comes to responding to consumers’ demands to remove toxic chemicals from their store, Walmart has put their money where their mouth is.
Wal-Mart is cutting back on the use of controversial chemicals in some 90,000 of the products it stocks. The supermarket giant announced on Wednesday that it is encouraging suppliers to ban eight chemicals mainly found in beauty and personal care items.
The change comes as part of the retail giant’s 2013 transparency initiative and in response to a consumer shift that favors “natural” products and a desire to know more about a product’s origin and ingredients.
Acknowledging that “the flood of information…can often confuse or concern as much as inform,” Wal-Mart said on its sustainability blog that this move is intended to simplify choices for its consumers by asking vendors to “reformulate household cleaning, personal care, baby, pet, beauty and cosmetic products to remove, reduce and restrict the use of priority chemicals and replace them with safer alternatives.”
Wal-Mart worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to designate the priority chemicals, which include triclosan (used in clothing and toys), parabens (used in cosmetics), toluene (found in nail care products), and formaldehyde (used in personal care products such as hair smoothers).
Exposure to high levels of formaldehyde has been linked to leukemia, and triclosan remains under review by the Food and Drug Administration after animal studies showed the chemical can alter hormone regulation.
Consumer advocacy groups welcomed the move.