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April 14th, 2017

Hey Costco: It’s Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves

Hey Costco It's Time to Get Toxic Chemicals Off Your Shelves Groovy Green LivinWhen I joined Costco a few years ago their organic selection was limited so I opted for other markets for the bulk of my shopping. Fast forward to the present and Costco is now taking the lead as the largest organic retailer in the United States. In 2015 they sold $4 billion of organic produce and packaged foods.

Costco it’s time to get toxic chemicals off your shelves

While Costco has become a leader in carrying organic produce and adhering to fair wages, they have a problem that needs to be addressed. Some of the products on the shelves in their stores contain harmful chemicals. I’m talking about chemicals like cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting flame retardants, some of which show up in toddlers at five times the rate of their mothers.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families released a report called Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals“. This report gave large retailers a letter grade for actions they’ve taken to eliminate toxic chemicals. Costco received the second lowest grade of any retailer evaluated, receiving only 9.5 points and a letter grade of F. The company has no public written safer chemicals policy in place, unlike many of their competitors. Costco was surprisingly the only major retailer that did not publicly report any progress in getting rid of chemicals of high concern over the past three years.

Costco has made some progress since the report was published by recently updating its website. The site describes the development and implementation of a Costco Restricted Chemical List (RSL) and Smart Screening Program for toxic chemicals.

While this is a step in the right direction, they still have some work to do.

Joining Costco again

I let my Costco membership lapse a few years ago and have been contemplating joining again. The store is a 15-minute drive from my house so it’s not convenient, but I’m drawn to their commitment to organic products. My decision would be much easier if they also committed to reducing toxic chemicals in products they sell. Not only would they be a leader in selling organic products, but they would pave the way for other retailers to eliminate harmful chemicals from their products. The time has come for Costco to take the next step and announce a robust safer chemicals policy with clear benchmarks and timeframes to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals in products on the shelves in their stores.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Go to the store and fill out a comment card.
    Next time you are at Costco, fill out a comment card voicing your concerns. Costco comment cards may be available in stores near the customer service desk. Or you can print a card HERE, fill it out at home, and drop it off at a nearby Costco.
  2. Make an electronic comment.
    Take action online and submit a digital comment to Costco.
  3. Call the customer line.
    Dial the customer support line and express your concerns with a Costco customer service agent: 1-800-774-2678

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November 16th, 2016

Amazon Gets an “F” For Not Having Chemical Policy

Amazon Gets an "F" For Not Having Chemical Policy Groovy Green Livin

It’s been a rough few days for many of us while we try to process the results of last week’s election. Thank you to all who reached out to share your feelings and concerns. It’s times like this that reinforce why this amazing community is so valuable.

Amidst all the turmoil in the world right now, it’s comforting to know that there are many organizations out there continuing to do important work.

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families is one of those organizations that continues to chip away at our broken system. I’ve been working closely with them since the launch of their Mind the Store Campaign in 2013. Together we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s top 10 retailers to ask them to stop carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

New report released gives Amazon and other retailers failing grades for not having a chemical policy in place

Safer Chemicals Healthy Families released a new report today, Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals,” showing that some of the nation’s biggest retailers have cracked down on toxic chemicals in their products while others are dragging their feet.

Amazon Gets an "F" For Not Having Chemical Policy Groovy Green Livin

Major U.S. retailers earned grades ranging from B for good progress to F for failing to develop and make public even basic safer chemical policies.  The average grade was a D+, which is not something to be proud of. These stores have some work to do to meet rising consumer demand for safer products.

The top three retailers were Walmart, Target, and CVS Health. Each has made meaningful progress toward safer chemicals and products. Meanwhile, other large retailers remain serious laggards. Amazon, Costco, and Albertsons all earned failing grades.  

Amazon?! Costco?! These are stores that many of us use on a regular basis. As Amazon continues to grow and expand it’s surprising that they don’t seem to care about the health of their customers. 

Big retailers cracking down on toxic chemicals BUT too many lag behind. #MindTheStore Click To Tweet

Retailers were graded on a scale of 0 to 130 points and then given a letter grade.

Here’s a list of the retailers with their letter and number grades, ranked from the highest to the lowest graded companies:

  1. Walmart Stores (Walmart and Sam’s Club):  B (78.5 points)
  2. Target: B (76.5)
  3. CVS Health: C (53)
  4. Best Buy: C- (41)
  5. The Home Depot: D+ (35.5)
  6. Lowe’s: D (29.5)
  7. Walgreens: D (29.5)
  8. Kroger: D- (15.5)
  9. Albertsons: F (12.5)
  10. Costco: F (9.5)
  11. Amazon: F (7.5)

Target continues to rock! Over the past year they’ve made significant improvements made to their chemical policy.  The company: 1) Added cosmetics to their policy; 2) Expanded its list of chemicals to include chemicals banned in cosmetics in the European Union and Canada; 3) Significantly improved its evaluation of suppliers’ transparency practices; and 4) Added new criteria pushing suppliers to publicly disclose their fragrance palette, allergens in fragrance, and nanomaterials.

CVS also rocks! The report card also reveals for the first time that CVS Health has become the first pharmacy chain in the country to become a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project.  Additionally, CVS Health has pledged to publicly disclose its restricted list of chemicals in 2017.  Best Buy also disclosed it is developing a safer chemicals policy, restricted substance list, and manufacturing restricted substance list, to drive harmful chemicals out of electronics.

This holiday season take the time to educate yourself before you shop. Give a little love to those retailers who are working towards safer products on the shelves in their stores.

Will you join me and tell big retailers that it’s time to eliminate toxic chemicals?


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February 5th, 2016

We Want Safer Flooring and Furniture

Hey Warren Buffet, We Want Safer Flooring and Furniture Groovy Green Livin

Over a year ago I joined thousands of others and wrote a letter to Macy’s letting them know that I was concerned about toxic chemicals that may be in products they were selling.  I was especially concerned about toxic flame retardants, which are common in upholstered furniture.

Flame retardants are bad news. They’ve been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other serious health problems, yet much of the furniture in our stores continues to be filled with these toxic chemicals. They are known to migrate out of couches and other furniture, get into the dust inside our homes and make their way into our bodies.

When I sent my letter to Macy’s my letter was one of thousands of emails that they received from customers encouraging them to address the harmful chemicals.

Macy’s listened!

After much consumer pressure, Macy’s agreed to ensure the furniture they sell is free of toxic flame retardants.

Other big retailers, including Lowe’s, have also agreed to adopt policies to eliminate toxic chemicals in their furniture and flooring.

We want safer flooring and furniture from Berkshire Hathaway

Hey Warren Buffet, We Want Safer Flooring and Furniture

Now the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store campaign is asking one of the world’s richest people and one of America’s biggest investors in furniture and flooring retailers, Warren Buffett, to help stop the spread of these unnecessary and harmful chemicals that are getting into our homes.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns companies that are among the biggest retailers of furniture and flooring nationwide.  These include the newest Nebraska Furniture Mart store in Texas that is expected to be the highest-volume furniture store in the U.S., with a projected billion dollars in sales in one year alone.

In 2012, Warren Buffet said, “taking shortcuts is not the pathway to achieving sustainable competitive advantage, nor is it an avenue toward satisfying customers.  A company must invest in the key ingredients of profitability: its people, communities and the environment.”  Warren Buffett has noted sustainability is integral to a company’s profitability – yet his retailers are lagging behind competitors when it comes to addressing toxic chemicals in furniture & flooring– clearly not the Buffett way.

IKEA, Macy’s, Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s and Lumber Liquidators are phasing out these same chemicals from furniture and/or flooring, so when will Warren Buffett catch up and do the same?

While not all furniture and flooring contains toxic chemicals, we are asking Berkshire Hathaway’s retailers to work with their suppliers to completely phase out these unnecessary and dangerous chemicals.

We know safer and cost effective alternatives to the toxic chemicals found in furniture and flooring are widely available. Warren Buffett has a responsibility to give consumers safe products, and getting rid of toxic chemicals is good for the environment, consumers’ health, and business.

Stand with the Mind the Store campaign and tell Warren Buffet to be a sustainability leader and invest in safe furniture and flooring.

Send a message to Berkshire Hathaway’s CEO Warren Buffett and its retailers today! Sign this petition to ask Warren Buffett and his company Berkshire Hathaway to join other top retailers and invest in safe furniture and flooring.


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photo credit: Dreamer via photopin (license)

October 21st, 2015

Victory! Macy’s Vows to Sell Furniture Free of Toxic Flame Retardants

Victory! Macy's Vows to Sell Furniture Free of Toxic Flame Retardants Groovy Green Livin

Earlier this month I wrote a letter to Macy’s. I wanted to let them know that I was concerned about toxic chemicals that may be in products I bring into my home.  I shared with them that I’m especially concerned about toxic flame retardants, which are common in upholstered furniture.

It’s no secret flame retardants have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption and other serious health problems, yet much of the furniture in our stores continues to be filled with these toxic chemicals. They are known to migrate out of couches and other furniture, get into the dust inside our homes and make their way into our bodies.

For years, most couches and upholstered furniture across the U.S. contained high levels of toxic flame retardant chemicals.

Recent changes to the California flammability standard now provide better fire safety without the use of these toxic chemicals.

Leading retailers are already selling furniture without toxic flame retardants.  Ashley Furniture, Walmart, Ikea, Crate & Barrel, Room & Board, the Futon Shop, La-Z-Boy, Williams Sonoma (Pottery Barn, West Elm), Ikea, Ethan Allen, and Restoration Hardware have either eliminated or committed to eliminate toxic flame retardants in all of their furniture.

I joined many others as part of the Mind the Store Campaign. Together we asked Macy’s, one of the biggest retailers of furniture in the country, to adopt a public policy and time-frame for eliminating toxic flame retardant chemicals in all furniture foam, textiles and backing, and clearly label all products nationwide in accordance with the new California labeling law.

Over the past two weeks, Macy’s received thousands of e-mails from customers encouraging them to address the harmful chemicals.

And guess what?! Macy’s listened!

Victory! Macy's Vows to Sell Furniture Free of Toxic Flame Retardants Groovy Green Livin

Victory! After much consumer pressure, Macy’s has agreed to ensure the furniture they sell is free of toxic flame retardants.

Macy’s let me know in an e-mail that they’re finally taking action on flame retardants in furniture. They said:

“We will be instructing any remaining suppliers who are using these chemicals to cease doing so.”

Thank you Macy’s for doing what’s right for our health.

Thank you to Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and the Mind the Store Campaign for their hard work on this issue and thank you to the thousands of people who took time to write to Macy’s to voice their concerns.

Change is happening. As buyers continue to demand flame retardant-free furniture, manufacturers have no other option but to listen. Together we made this happen!

If you have some time over the next few days please give Macy’s a shout out on social media.

Just click here if you’re on Twitter:

[Tweet “Thank you @Macys for getting toxic #flameretardants out of furniture #MindTheStore http://ow.ly/TGnxL via @groovygreenlivi”]

Where do you buy your furniture? Are you concerned about toxic flame retardants? 


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


photo credit: Macy’s 6/2014 Waterbury, CT. Pics by Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia on YouTube. #Macys #MacysStore via photopin (license)

October 6th, 2015

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help Groovy Green Livin

I’m back after an incredible weekend in Los Angeles. I was in LA to speak at ShiftCon, a social media conference focusing on wellness, health, and the environment. This is the second year for this conference and it did not disappoint.

This year my panel was called “Beauty and the Beast: Navigating the World of Green Beauty“. I spoke alongside Lindsay Dahl of Beautycounter and Lindsay Dahl’s Blog and Micaela Preston of Mindful Momma. Our panel tackled the confusing world of green beauty and what we as consumers, advocates and writers can do to help transform the beauty industry.

Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products~How You Can Help Groovy Green Livin

The confusing world of green beauty

In 1938 congress passed a law regulating the cosmetics industry. Unfortunately, the United States has not passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients used in personal care products since that 1938 law passed. Although there’s been tremendous growth in the beauty product marketplace, the regulations governing personal care products have changed very little in the last eight decades.

The cosmetics and personal care marketplace is extremely confusing for consumers. The government does no safety testing of products or their ingredients, nor does it approve new products before they’re placed on the shelves in our stores.

Shoppers shouldn’t have to be chemists or experts to find safe shampoo, mascara or blush!

What You Can Do: Safer Beauty and Personal Care Products Groovy Green Livin

How can we help the marketplace shift towards safer beauty products?

Consumer pressure works! As more and more of us understand the impacts that toxic chemicals have on our health there is a huge drive for safer products. Each time we buy a safer product we’re casting a vote. We are demanding safer beauty and personal care products.

A few BIG changes are happening because consumers are demanding safer products:

  • Johnson & Johnson. After intense public pressure Johnson & Johnson agreed to remove 1, 4-dioxane and quaternium-15 from nearly all of their toiletry and cosmetic products worldwide by 2015.  In 2014 they did it.
  • Clorox (Burt’s Bees) made a statement that in 2015 it will expand its ingredient disclosure program.
  • Target.  Target Corporation, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, has new sustainability standard for the household cleaners, personal care and beauty, and baby care products it sells.

Encourage companies (green, natural and conventional) to disclose ALL ingredients.

  • Skip the most toxic ingredients when you buy personal care products-use the Skin Deep app as a starting point.
  • Get to know your products. Contact the company and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to do this! Be an educated consumer.

Use your voice to encourage members of Congress to pass a strong Personal Care Products Safety Act. 

  • Join forces with some of the powerful organizations already doing good work: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Breast Cancer Fund, EWG and Beautycounter . Get on their email lists to remain updated.
  • Call members of congress.
  • Call local politicians  and let them know that we deserve safe cosmetics and non-toxic personal care products. Let them know that we them to stand up for meaningful reform.

Join Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store campaign

In 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families launched the Mind the Store campaign. The campaign was created to ask our nation’s top ten retailers to avoid carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. I went to Walgreens several times to ask them to carry safer productsWalgreens has finally committed to developing a chemicals policy!

Take a look at my picks for-

For more helpful information check out Micaela’s post over at Mindful Momma on how to buy better beauty and personal care products. 

We all deserve safer cosmetics and personal care products, don’t we? How do you find safer personal care products?


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


 

photo credit: my new isadora 1 via photopin (license)

December 18th, 2014

Hey Kroger: It’s Time to Take the Toxins Out

Kroger Take the Toxins Out Groovy Green Livin

Have you heard of Kroger? We don’t have Kroger in the Boston area, but I know it’s the primary grocery store in many of your cities and towns.

Kroger  is the largest grocery chain in the United States and one of the largest worldwide. They have over 3,500 stores and sales of over $98 billion.

I’ve been working with Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and many others on a campaign called Mind the Store for almost a year. Remember when I went into Walgreens and asked them to take steps to remove toxic chemicals from products they sell? I’ve also traveled to Washington DC– twice– to fight for safer products.

That same day that I headed into Walgreens I joined forces with many others. As part of the Mind the Store campaign we asked the nation’s top 10 retailers (including Walgreens and Kroger) to avoid carrying what are being calling the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertilitylearning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

Other big retailers like Walmart and Target have developed plans to screen out over 1,000 chemicals in products on their store shelves.

But not Kroger. Kroger has continued to be largely unresponsive to the campaign. It’s time to turn up some heat this holiday season.

Kroger still doesn’t have a comprehensive policy to screen out and eliminate toxic chemicals in their products. They have the power and a fundamental moral responsibility to ensure products on their store shelves, especially food, are safe and free of hormone-disrupting chemicals.

We have a BIG problem in our country. Toxins are basically unregulated and can make their way onto the shelves of our stores without our knowledge. That’s why we’ve been asking retailers to take the lead and create their own policies to insure safer products on the shelves of their stores.

If Target and Walmart can do it, so can Kroger! There’s a bit of good news: Kroger has taken some initial steps to eliminate certain chemicals like BPA in canned food. That’s a promising first step.

It’s time to tell Kroger they need to ensure packaged foods and other products they sell are safe, especially for children and pregnant women.

As many of us are getting ready for our big holiday meals for Christmas,Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, dangerous chemicals may be lurking in our favorite dishes.

Studies have shown toxic chemicals like phthalates, chemicals that have been linked to birth defects in baby boys and asthma in children, can migrate out of food packaging and get into the food we eat.

It’s not just toxic chemicals in food packaging.  Many consumer products contain chemicals that have been linked with chronic diseases and health conditions, including cancer, reduced fertility, learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems, obesity, and diabetes, chemicals that are getting into our bodies.

A recent study found children’s Halloween trick-or-treat bags laced with dangerous flame retardants sold at Kroger.  Kroger has reported selling over 150 products with hazardous chemicals harmful to children to the state of Washington under an innovative state law.  For example they reported selling tableware with formaldehyde, parabens in skin care products, and phthalates in children’s clothing.

Hope you’ll join me in telling Kroger it’s time to be a leader-it’s time to take the toxins out!


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photo credit: Nicholas Eckhart via photopin cc

April 17th, 2014

Hey Walgreens, We Still Want Safer Products

Groovy Green Livin Walgreens Mind the Store

Yesterday was a big day. Thousands of people across the nation asked Walgreens to get serious about toxic chemicals. I was one of the thousands.

I went to my local Walgreens to ask them to Mind the Store. And this wasn’t my first visit to Walgreens asking that very same question.

What is the Mind the Store Campaign?

In 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families launched the Mind the Store campaign. The campaign was created to ask our nation’s top ten retailers to avoid carrying the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer,infertilitylearning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

Walgreens, the largest drug store chain nationwide, hasn’t responded to our campaign.

My Visit to Walgreens

This visit I had a chance to meet with the store manager and one other employee. We had a fabulous conversation. 

Groovy Green Livin Walgreens Mind the Store

I let them know that, as a customer, I’m finding it increasingly hard to find safe products free of toxic chemicals. Due to our lax federal laws on toxic chemicals, products filled with toxins are ending up on the shelves in Walgreens. 

We talked about the new study by HealthyStuff.org showing a range of products that Walgreens sells containing one or more toxic chemicals. These toxic chemicals include PVC, phthalates, and heavy metals that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems and cancer.

The store manager responded with a “Wow! That’s a lot of chemicals!”

Groovy Green Livin Walgreens Mind the Store

Given that their competitors like Target and Walmart  have already begun to take comprehensive action, we want Walgreens to feel the heat and be the next major retailer to develop a corporate chemicals policy.

The store employees promised to pass the message along to their corporate office. Fingers crossed that they follow through.

Take Action

Walgreens is the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and they have the power — and moral responsibility — to ensure that the products they sell do not contain dangerous chemicals harmful to our health.

Unfortunately, Walgreens has yet to respond to our repeated letters and requests to do something.

Join me along with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to call on Walgreens to Mind the Store and protect our families from unnecessary dangerous chemicals.

Send them a message HERE. I promise it will only take a few seconds.

Do you find it hard to find products without toxic chemicals?

Thank you to my 10 year old for his extraordinary patience while filming the video above. 

Check out some of the experiences people had at Walgreens:

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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