A major push begins today urging high-profile U.S. retailers to crack down on selling a host of products that contain chemicals with unsafe — or unproven — track records.
The campaign seeks a commitment from Wal-Mart, Target and other major retailers to devise a plan to stop selling products that contain any of more than 100 chemicals opponents identified as unsafe in various studies and regulated by one or more Federal measures, such as the Toxic Control Substances Act, issued over the past several decades.
The campaign represents a collaboration between nearly 50 health and environmental advocacy organizations that are arguing that most retailers don’t know what ingredients are in the products they sell. Advocates say those products traverse the spectrum of everyday use: clothing, vinyl flooring, shower curtains, packaging, shampoos and bottles, among hundreds of others.
Some retailers and industry advocates claim they have already moved to self-regulate, according to a report Wednesday. Some stores stopped selling products that contain BPAs before the Feds could get around to banning them, for example. And Target, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and others have imposed their own restrictions on toxins such as polyvinyl chloride, coal tar, formaldehyde, phthalates and parabens.
But one organizer said retailers aren’t doing enough. “[T]he bites so far are too small for the scale of the problem,” said Andy Igrejas of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Homes. His organization, along with groups like the Breast Cancer Awareness Fund, are sending a letter — which they haven’t yet made public — urging retailers to identify and halt the sale of products that contain chemicals which have been linked to cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
That letter will go out to Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Walgreens, Home Depot, Lowe’s, CVS, Best Buy and Safeway. So far, organizers aren’t talking about coming up with repercussions against retailers that don’t heed the call to eliminate toxins from the products they sell. They simply want to make sure the public knows the stores they frequent are being called upon, at the least, to require their suppliers to disclose what’s in their products.