September 16th, 2013

Walmart Takes Steps Towards Safer Products

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Groovy Green Livin Walmart

Walmart is listening. The Mind the Store campaign is working. Together we’ve asked the nation’s top 10 retailers to avoid carrying what are being calling the Hazardous 100 + toxic chemicals.

Remember when I went into Walgreens and asked them to take steps to remove toxic chemicals from the products they sell? These toxic chemicals have been linked to cancer, infertilitylearning and developmental disabilities, behavioral problems,obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

Walmart is the world’s biggest multinational retailer, with “superstores” selling everything from clothes and electronics to furniture and groceries and it’s decided to take steps towards selling safer products.

Walmart’s Plan of Action

“Walmart customers expect products that are safe, affordable and sustainable.”

~Walmart Policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables

Walmart is taking consumer pressure seriously and announced that it will try to get their suppliers to disclose and eventually phase out 10 potentially toxic chemicals from personal care products, cosmetics and cleaning products sold in its stores. Walmart has also agreed to work with their suppliers to move towards safer alternatives.

The disclosure practices will begin in 2015 and apply to cleaners, personal care products, cosmetics and baby care.

Also part of the plan-Walmart brand cleaners will no longer contain toxic chemicals outlined by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program.

Good First Step, but a Long Way to Go

While this appears to be a giant leap in the right direction, there are a few pieces of Walmart’s big news that are concerning.

  • Walmart has yet to disclose which chemicals would be phased out. They have confirmed that all 10 chemicals appear on the list of chemicals that Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families published in April as part of its Mind the Store campaign. Why won’t they tell us what the 10 are right now? What’s the secrecy all about? If you’re aiming for full transparency this isn’t a very good way to start.
  • Consumers still need to do their homework before purchasing a product. Walmart’s taking a step towards transparency, but we can’t assume that all of their products will now be safe. Remember-they’re only committing to phase out 10 toxic chemicals while there are over 100 on the list. A product could still contain other toxic chemicals in addition to the 10 secret ingredients that Walmart is planning to phase out. This is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go.

In Walmart’s defense, it described this as just the beginning of action on chemicals rather than the end. I’m generally not a Walmart shopper, but I do know that these changes will ultimately impact the safety of the products I buy. Even though I have concerns, this step by Walmart shouldn’t be taken lightly-it’s a huge undertaking with  half a million products in every store from more than 100,000 suppliers. We know other retailers are watching how this whole thing plays out. Fingers crossed that they will soon follow Walmart’s lead.

Baby steps.

What do you think about Walmart’s announcement to disclose and phase out a few toxic chemicals?


photo credit: Walmart Corporate via photopin cc

15 Responses to “Walmart Takes Steps Towards Safer Products”

  1. Thanks for this great post, I agree this is an important first step, but still just a first step! There is a lot of work to be done and there are many more than 10 chemicals used commonly in consumer products. Together we ARE making a difference, it’s very exciting. Hopefully that the other retailers will follow suit and go further.

  2. I agree Lori. It’s a great first step, but more needs to be done. Hopefully, this will convince others to join.
    Kristina@The Greening of Westford recently posted..Walmart and P&G are Phasing Out Harmful ChemicalsMy Profile

  3. As the world’s biggest retailer, Walmart’s actions can positively influence other retailers-or I hope they do. Yes, their changes will take a while to come to fruition, but it is a good first step in the right direction. Millions worldwide shop at Walmart, so their actions will impact the options availablle for large numbers of shoppers and that’s a good thing.
    Deborah Davis recently posted..Feel a Cold or Flu Coming On? Eat This Homemade Immunity Boosting SoupMy Profile

  4. Hi Lori, This is a step in the right direction: a mega-retailer is publicly committing to taking action on 10 toxic chemicals-which will be a large and involved undertaking. It’s good to see that we are taking small steps together, as consumers and retailers, in a direction other than the all-too-familiar race to the bottom. Thank you for the post.

  5. I agree Danny- this is a step in the right direction. We have a long way to go, but baby steps work.

  6. You’re right Deborah. So may people shop at Walmart. Hopefully Walmart’s paving the way and other retailers will follow their lead.

  7. I think it is a step in the right direction but only know the future will see what they actually do and if they follow through. Actually quite a bit of what they are saying is very vague and not specific so it sounds a little like we what to look good just to get these people off our backs. I hope I’m wrong.
    Marla recently posted..Pears Healing Power – Super Seasonal SmoothieMy Profile

  8. I can’t even go into Walmart or Target because my eyes get teary with all the chemicals. I barely can rush through Sam’s Club to quickly grab what I need. So this news is HUGE in my mind. It will take years before they eliminate ALL toxins (I can dream, right?) but this is a great first step for Walmart shoppers and I hope other retailers will follow suit.
    karen recently posted..Is Walmart on the right track in eliminating toxins from their products?My Profile

  9. […] was re-posted from Groovy Green Livin. Photo: trekandshoot / […]

  10. I’d take it a lot more seriously, to be honest, if they were willing to disclose what would go. Sure, it’s theoretically a good start, but right now they’re asking us to just trust them.
    Suzi Satterfield recently posted..What Do You REALLY Need to Start Cloth Diapering?My Profile

  11. I think 2015 is to far for the Walmart to do this why not this year. Why Walmart only concentrate on 10 toxic chemical while not all toxic chemical?
    James osborne recently posted..How To Have Perfect Skin: 5 Top Foods Good For SkinMy Profile

  12. I know that 2015 seems like a long time to wait James, but unfortunately it takes retailers a while to get their suppliers on board. Truthfully the whole thing seems crazy and backwards. This stuff should have never been allowed on our shelves in the first place!

  13. […] that their competitors like Target and Walmart  have already begun to take comprehensive action, we want Walgreens to feel the heat and be the […]

  14. […] Walmart is listening, Mind the Store campaign is working, still a ways to go – by Lori Alper at Groovy Green Livin’ […]

  15. […] band together and influence some of the largest consumer product companies in the world. This is real change and real […]

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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.

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