Clean Water Action Visits Local Retailers to Discuss Latest Retailer Report Card

Consumer Health Victory: Seven Major Retailers Commit to Reduce Use of Toxic Chemicals in Products and Packaging, others fall behind

** See the full report here **

Hartford, CT  – Just in time for the holiday shopping season, today in collaboration with the Mind the Store Campaign, Clean Water Action, and the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut co-released the second annual report card on toxic chemicals in consumer products, which found that one-third of 30 major U.S. retailers are leaders, but two-thirds remain serious laggards. The report, Who’s Minding the Store? -- A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals, includes evaluations of nineteen retailers for the first time. Coalition members are particularly concerned about those that received a failing grade including Babies R Us, located throughout Connecticut. 

Overall, eleven retailers evaluated in both 2016 and 2017 have showed substantial improvements in the past year, raising their grade from an average of D+ to C. Seven of these eleven retailers announced significant improvements over the last year alone: Albertsons, Best Buy, Costco, CVS Health, The Home Depot, Target, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. released new safer chemicals policies or initiatives. This improvement shows both the impact of the Mind the Store Campaign, as well as growing consumer concern and scientific evidence of health impacts from dangerous chemicals.

Apple, Wal-Mart Stores, CVS Health, IKEA, Whole Foods Market, and Target received the highest grades, scoring a B+ or above. These companies are setting the pace for the entire retail sector by making meaningful progress toward safer chemicals in products. Meanwhile the report reveals that some retailers like Amazon, Walgreens, and Staples are developing chemicals policies. Walgreens and Staples plan to launch their chemicals policies in 2018. 

However, 70% of the retailers evaluated remain serious laggards, earning D’s and F’s, for failing to publicly announce basic safer chemical policies to ensure the chemical safety of their products and supply chain. Nine retailers received a failing grade of “F”: Ace Hardware, grocery chain owner Ahold Delhaize, Dollar General, Kohl’s, Office Depot, Sally Beauty, TJX, Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us, and Trader Joe’s. All of these, except for Toys”R”Us / Babies”R”Us, received 0 out of 135 possible points.

The report also found that, over the past three years, at least a dozen retailers achieved significant reductions or elimination of dangerous chemicals in the products they carry, far ahead of any government-imposed restrictions. Unfortunately, nearly one-half of the 30 retailers evaluated have not publicly reported any progress in reducing or eliminating chemicals of concern over the past three years.

For a full list of the retailers with their letter and corresponding number grades along with the methodology used, please go to: RetailerReportCard.com. This new, interactive website enables users to view and sort retailers by their grades and consumer product sector.  Consumers can also use the report website to email and “Tweet” to companies, urging them to improve.

Anne Hulick, RN, MS, JD, State Director, Clean Water Action, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut Coordinator and CT Representative to the Getting Ready for Baby Campaign, said "I’m proud to see that many large global retailers are paying attention to this campaign and consumer demands for safer products and applaud those that have received top grades.  There is much more that needs to be done and I am particularly disturbed to see the two top retailers of baby products falling behind.  Hopefully, our visit today and the release of the 2nd Retailer Report Card will urge both Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby to take serious action.”

Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, and report co-author said, “We are thrilled that major retailers like Walmart, CVS Health, and Target are driving a race to the top to eliminate dangerous chemicals that threaten our families’ health. At the same time, far too many are lagging behind, failing to meet the rising consumer demand for healthy products. This holiday season, retailers should give us the gift of a toxic-free future.”

Louis Burch, CT Program Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment stated “CCE applauds Apple, Wal-Mart, CVS, IKEA and Whole Foods Market; the five top ranking retailers in this year’s Mind the Store Retailer Report Card. These companies have earned top marks for adopting strong chemical policies in their stores, promoting safer alternatives to toxic products, and ensuring transparency and oversight over the products they sell.  Consumers want quality goods at a good price, not cheap products that cost them their health!  The Retailer Report Card helps highlight companies taking meaningful steps towards offering safer products in their stores.  It’s good for consumers’ health and it pushes the whole market in a healthier, less toxic direction.”

Hacah Boros, RN, MSN, CT Nurses’ Association Environmental Coordinator , said “As a nurse and a mother of two young children, I’ve tried hard to shop for products that I know to be free of toxic chemicals like flame retardants, perflourinated chemicals, antimicrobials and endocrine disrupting chemicals.  It’s impossible!  I am pleased to see some major retailers taking the lead in developing restricted substances lists, working with suppliers to produce safe products and being more transparent with customers.  I urge others, particularly those selling baby products like Babies R Us and buy buy Baby to commit to moving in the right direction.”

Susan Eastwood, Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut member, “As a member of the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy CT and mother of two children, I’ve worked for many years on campaigns to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.  I am pleased to see retailers like CVS, where I shop frequently, demonstrate a commitment to have safer products on their shelves and transparency in their chemical policies. I applaud CVS for their significant improvement and encourage them to continue to be leaders as they position themselves as a health company. 

Pamela Puchalski, ConnectiCOSH, said “This is also great news for workers who are exposed to toxic chemicals during manufacturing as well as those workers in retail that may be exposed inadvertently, such as check out cashiers handling thermal receipts all day.  Safer products are beneficial for workers, consumers and the environment.”

Tom Swan, Executive Director of CT Citizens Action Group said “CCAG applauds this work and those companies that are moving in the right direction.  This is the right thing to do and because of this report and consumer demand, more retailers will recognize that selling products without toxic chemicals is good for business, good for consumers and good for the bottom line.

Anne Hulick
860-302-4861
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