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The Most Poisonous Retailers on the Planet

Editor’s Word: This text is a reprint. It was initially printed December 5, 2018.

The Poisonous Substances Management Act (TSCA) requires that the U.S. Environmental Safety Company compile and preserve a present checklist of chemical substances manufactured or processed within the U.S. In 2018 that checklist1 included about 85,000 chemical substances.

Amongst them are 10,000 chemical substances allowed to be added to meals and food-contact supplies within the U.S., both straight or not directly, but few have been correctly examined for security.

An analysis of almost 4,000 components deliberately added to meals revealed 80% lacked sufficient data to find out how a lot might be safely eaten and solely 6.7% had reproductive toxicology knowledge.2 And that is simply meals chemical substances.

In recent times, researchers and scientists have raised warnings about mounting poisonous exposures, resulting in efforts to rein in using chemical substances identified to be hazardous to human well being. Sadly, many firms are nonetheless failing on this regard.

Report Card Reveals Most Poisonous Retailers

Three years in the past, the Safer Chemical compounds, Wholesome Households’ Thoughts the Retailer marketing campaign began publishing a report card on retailer actions to get rid of poisonous chemical substances. The third annual report3,4 reveals which retailers have made strides to guard its clients from poisonous chemical substances within the merchandise they promote, and which of them haven’t. This 12 months, chain eating places have been additionally included for the primary time.

About half of the 40 firms evaluated have made “gradual however significant progress at bettering the chemical security of the merchandise, meals and packaging they promote,” whereas the opposite half, together with all restaurant chains, haven’t made any discernible efforts to cut back toxicity. In response to the report, printed November 14, 2018:5

“4 retailers acquired the best grades for his or her work to guard clients from poisonous merchandise and packaging, setting the tempo for the trade: Apple (A+), Goal (A), Walmart (A-) and IKEA (A-).

In 2018, Walgreens, Ceremony Assist and Amazon have been ranked ‘most improved’ with all three firms saying sweeping chemical security insurance policies over the previous two months.”

Mike Schade, marketing campaign director for Safer Chemical compounds, Wholesome Households commented on the outcomes:6

“Corporations can stop hurt and shield public well being by taking commonsense steps to part out poisonous chemical substances in on a regular basis merchandise. Retailers have an essential function to play — they’ve each the facility and the ethical accountability to get rid of and safely exchange poisonous chemical substances to ‘thoughts the shop.’ They need to cease letting chemical companies put public well being in danger.”

Which Retailers Scored Failing Grades in 2018?

In all, 19 of the 40 retailers, grocery and quick meals restaurant chains included within the overview acquired an “F” in 2018 for “failing to announce insurance policies or publicly report progress to evaluate, scale back or get rid of poisonous chemical substances within the merchandise or packaging they promote.” As famous by Tracy Gregoire, mission coordinator for Studying Disabilities Affiliation of America’s Wholesome Kids:7

“Studying and developmental disabilities now have an effect on 1 in 6 youngsters. Over 1 / 4 of those disabilities are linked to poisonous chemical exposures. Prenatal and early childhood publicity to dangerous chemical substances in client merchandise and meals packaging can result in lifelong impacts and persistent well being circumstances.

Main retailers have each the chance and the accountability to turn out to be trade leaders by maintaining poisonous chemical substances out of merchandise and packaging to guard youngsters’s minds and our bodies.”

Whereas among the firms that acquired an “F” would appear like “givens,” even firms like Dealer Joe’s and Publix are on this checklist.

Corporations that acquired a Failing Grade for 20188


Ulta Magnificence

Ahold Delhaize


Dealer Joe’s

Panera Bread

Workplace Depot

Sally Magnificence




Restaurant Manufacturers Worldwide

Greenback Normal

TJX Corporations

Yum! Manufacturers

Ace {Hardware}


99 Cents Solely


Govt director of the Environmental Well being Technique Heart, Mike Belliveau, a coauthor of the report, mentioned:9

“The meals we purchase ought to nourish us, not expose us to poisonous chemical substances from packaging and processing. Restaurant chains are serving up a recipe for poor well being by failing to slash using poisonous chemical substances in meals packaging and different meals contact supplies.

Poisonous industrial chemical substances like phthalates and PFAS do not belong within the meals we eat. Shoppers anticipate much more management from meals retailers in getting poisonous chemical substances out of the meals provide chain.”

Key Findings

In response to the report, this 12 months’s evaluation reveals 5 key findings:10

1. Retailers are making an effort to take away sure poisonous chemical substances from their merchandise — Examples given embody phthalates, parabens and formaldehyde in magnificence and private care merchandise, and oxybenzone in sunscreens.

Ceremony Assist is planning to get rid of two varieties of phthalates from its non-public label merchandise by 2020, and can part out 9 others. By the top of 2022, Residence Depot can even prohibit two phthalates and 7 different chemical substances in any family cleansing merchandise they promote.

Ten retailers — Lowe’s, Sherwin-Williams, The Residence Depot, Walmart, True Worth, PPG Paints, AutoZone, Kelly-Moore Paints, Canadian Tire and Residence {Hardware} — have all vowed to stop promoting paint strippers containing methylene chloride and NMP by the top of 2018.

In response to the report, “No less than three paint stripper manufacturers have introduced new merchandise coming to market which might be freed from methylene chloride and NMP, exhibiting the facility of outlets to drive the event of safer options.”

2. Retailers are strengthening or adopting new insurance policies to handle poisonous chemical substances — Apart from Walgreens, Ceremony Assist and Amazon — which reported probably the most vital enhancements on this regard — Goal, Lowe’s, Costco, Kohl’s and Sephora additionally improved.

3. Retailers are “aligning round a typical checklist of chemical substances of concern” — Primarily the wonder and private care stewardship checklist,11 created by the Discussion board for the Future in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium, which is a subset of a bigger checklist12 containing a number of thousand chemical substances with suspected toxicity, developed by authorities companies within the U.S., Europe and different areas.

4. Meals retailers, then again, “critically lag behind,” having been gradual to undertake insurance policies to cut back or get rid of identified toxins corresponding to phthalates and PFAS from their packaging and supplies that come into contact with the meals.

5. Regardless of progress, “too many” retailers are nonetheless not addressing the chemical security of their merchandise — “Virtually half the retailers evaluated lacked even probably the most fundamental public chemical substances coverage,” the report states.

AAP Requires Lowered Publicity to Chemical compounds

The truth that all meals retailers acquired a failing rating is disturbing, contemplating their general influence on a person’s day-to-day chemical publicity. As famous by Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Environmental Well being and lead creator of the AAP’s coverage assertion on poisonous meals chemical substances issued earlier this 12 months:13

“There are vital weaknesses within the present meals components regulatory course of, which does not do sufficient to make sure all chemical substances added to meals are secure sufficient to be a part of a household’s food plan. As pediatricians, we’re particularly involved about vital gaps in knowledge in regards to the well being results of many of those chemical substances on infants and youngsters …

Chemical compounds that have an effect on the endocrine system, for instance, can have lasting results on a toddler since hormones coordinate complicated features all through the physique. Even small disruptions at key moments throughout growth can have lifelong penalties.”

In July 2018, the AAP, a bunch of over 65,000 pediatricians within the U.S., issued a coverage assertion urging mother and father to restrict their youngsters’s publicity to plastic chemical substances identified to leach into meals from packaging, in addition to chemical meals components, warning the chemical substances could harm their youngsters’s well being for years to return.14 In a coverage assertion, the AAP expressed issues associated to:15

“[T]he use of colorings, flavorings and chemical substances intentionally added to meals throughout processing (direct meals components) in addition to substances in meals contact supplies, together with adhesives, guys, coatings, paper, paperboard, plastic and different polymers which can contaminate meals as a part of packaging or manufacturing gear …”

A few of these chemical substances embody phthalates, nitrates and bisphenols. Specialists worry these chemical substances have a spread of uncomfortable side effects in people, together with metabolic dysfunction, thyroid and different endocrine disruption, impaired mind growth, rising danger of weight problems and decreased start weight.16 Artificial hormones may additionally disrupt how energy are processed and finally how they’re transformed, contributing to metabolic dysfunction.

World Well being Group Has Additionally Issued Warnings

A 2013 joint report by the World Well being Group (WHO) and the United Nations Atmosphere Program17 additionally warned that an all-out ban on endocrine disrupting chemical substances could also be wanted to guard the well being of future generations.

This report is among the most complete on endocrine disrupting chemical substances generally present in plastics and meals components thus far, and highlights all kinds of issues, together with undescended testicles, breast, prostate and thyroid most cancers, nervous system faults and the event of consideration deficit dysfunction and a focus deficit hyperactivity dysfunction in youngsters.18

Take Motion

Poisonous chemical substances cover in most merchandise you purchase and use on an on a regular basis foundation. As famous by Thoughts the Retailer, “It is time retailers put the pursuits of our households’ well being above the particular pursuits of chemical companies. Huge retailers can innovate to cut back or get rid of poisonous chemical substances from the merchandise they carry and safeguard our well being.”

Should you agree, take motion by contacting the CEOs of all 19 retailers with a failing rating. Thoughts the Retailer makes it simple via their Motion Community web page.

Take Steps to Scale back Your Household’s Chemical Publicity

Contemplating all of the potential sources of poisonous chemical substances, it is just about unattainable to keep away from all of them, however that does not imply it’s a must to sit silently by whereas companies use your property, your water, your air, your meals and your physique as a handy chemical dumping floor. Till change happens on a worldwide scale, you possibly can considerably restrict your publicity by maintaining quite a few key rules in thoughts.

Eat a food plan targeted on domestically grown, contemporary and ideally natural complete meals. Processed and packaged meals are a typical supply of chemical substances, each within the meals itself and the packaging. Wash contemporary produce effectively, particularly if it is not organically grown.

Fairly than consuming standard or farm-raised fish, which are sometimes closely contaminated with PCBs and mercury, complement with a high-quality krill oil, or eat wild-caught Alaskan salmon, anchovies and sardines.

Select licensed natural grass fed meats and dairy to cut back your publicity to hormones, pesticides and fertilizers. Keep away from milk and different dairy merchandise containing genetically engineered recombinant bovine development hormone (rBGH or rBST).

Retailer your meals and drinks in glass, quite than plastic, and keep away from utilizing plastic wrap.

Purchase merchandise in glass bottles quite than plastic or cans, as chemical substances can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents; bear in mind that even “BPA-free” plastics usually leach endocrine-disrupting chemical substances which might be simply as dangerous.

Use glass child bottles.

Substitute your nonstick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.

Search for Earth-friendly, animal-friendly, sustainable, licensed natural and GMO-free merchandise. This is applicable to the whole lot from meals and private care merchandise to constructing supplies, carpeting, paint, child objects, furnishings, mattresses and extra.

Filter your faucet water for each ingesting and bathing. Should you can solely afford to do one, filtering your bathing water could also be extra essential, as your pores and skin readily absorbs contaminants. In case your faucet water is fluoridated, needless to say not all filter techniques will filter out this poisonous additive.

When shopping for new merchandise corresponding to furnishings, mattresses or carpet padding, take into account shopping for chemical-free varieties containing naturally much less flammable supplies, corresponding to leather-based, wool, cotton, silk and Kevlar, to keep away from publicity to poisonous flame retardants.

Keep away from stain- and waterproof clothes, furnishings and carpets to keep away from PFCs.

Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to take away contaminated home mud. This is among the main routes of publicity to flame-retardant chemical substances.

Be sure that your child’s toys are BPA-free, corresponding to pacifiers, teething rings and something your little one could also be vulnerable to suck or chew on — even books, which are sometimes plasticized. It is advisable to keep away from all plastic, particularly versatile varieties.

Swap to natural toiletries, together with shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. EWG’s Pores and skin Deep database19 might help you discover private care merchandise freed from phthalates and different doubtlessly harmful chemical substances.

Substitute your vinyl bathe curtain with a material one or set up glass doorways.

Use pure cleansing merchandise or make your individual. Keep away from these containing 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) — two poisonous glycol ethers that may compromise your fertility and trigger fetal hurt.

Search for fragrance-free merchandise. One synthetic perfume can comprise dozens of probably poisonous chemical substances.20 (When you think about that the trade has 3,100 inventory chemical elements for his or her fragrances, you actually might be uncovered to hundreds of those chemical substances daily if you happen to’re round others!) Additionally keep away from material softeners and dryer sheets, which comprise a mishmash of artificial chemical substances and fragrances.

Substitute female hygiene merchandise (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer options.

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