This week, Walmart announced they will be attempting to minimize the harmful chemicals in their household cleaning, personal care and beauty and cosmetic products. Beginning in January 2015, Walmart will require their suppliers to disclose, online, ingredients contained in products sold on Walmart shelves. This is a HUGE step as none of these products currently are required to disclose their ingredient lists anywhere. Walmart will also work to reduce the use of 10 “high priority” chemical ingredients. The list of 10 has not yet been disclosed but Walmart assures Safer Chemicals Healthy Families that the 10 are on its list of the “Hazardous 100+”. Another distinction is that Walmart will be working with suppliers to ensure the replacement chemicals aren’t just as bad.
Proctor &Gamble announced earlier in the week that it will eliminate triclosan and dibutyl phthalate from all of its products by 2014. Triclosan and phthalates are believed to be hormone disruptors.
I am VERY happy with these announcements! It shows that companies are listening to consumer concerns. I constantly feel like I have to be a scientist to go shopping – is this made of PVC, what are the ingredients, is that one a safe one? It has this certification, but does it really mean anything? It is enough to make your head spin. Fix it from the top! If manufacturers and retailers can rid our shelves of dangerous chemicals, then I don’t need to worry, as much. There are still plenty of other decisions I will need to make. But trying to pick the hand soap that DOESN’T have an ingredient possibly adding to antibiotic resistant bacteria – yeah I don’t think anyone wants that.
This also covers the other shoppers who may not even be aware that their cleaning product or tube of lipstick could be harming them. I was one of these consumers once, and probably still am in other areas. I remember years ago, my children were small and I was just beginning to go green. I started seeing “no growth hormone” stickers on milk. I remember, clear as day, standing in the aisle of the grocery store with my 4 year old and 2 year old twins, just trying to get some milk and thinking “Did I need to worry about that?” I had no clue what it meant at the time.
Say what you want about Walmart, but you can’t deny their reach. According to Forbes magazine, they are the largest retailer in sales and the #24 “World’s Most Powerful Brand”. If they rid their shelves of 10 dangerous chemicals, that is a significant drop overall.
One thing that bothers me though is that I had a difficult time finding these announcements in Walmart or P&G press releases. Nor could I find it easily in main stream media. If I missed it, please tell me. I wish the companies and media saw this as more news worthy.
Let’s just hope they follow through and continue to do more!
What do you think about these announcements?
Photo used under Creative Commons by Walmart/Flickr