Washington, DC – The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, announced today it would begin disclosing chemicals in many product categories while phasing out approximately ten chemicals from products, in favor of safer alternatives. It also announced that it will pursue EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) imprimatur for some of its private label products. The disclosure practices will begin in 2015 and apply to cleaners, personal care products, cosmetics and baby care.
Walmart declined to say which specific chemicals would be phased out but has confirmed they all appear on the list of chemicals that Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families published in April as part of its Mind the Store campaign. The campaign asked the top ten retailers to a phase-out the "Hazardous 100+" in the products they sell.
Andy Igrejas, executive director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families said:
“This is an unusually substantive announcement and Walmart deserves credit for that. We're encouraged that they've described this as just the beginning of action on chemicals rather than the end.
“While the number of chemicals is limited, the action is meaningful. They are not just moving away from several known toxic chemicals but are going deeper, using their position to make sure the alternatives are safer. That's progress that can ripple across the marketplace.
“Also, the EPA's Design for the Environment label is one of the few eco-labels that means something. If they pursue it for their private label products, the changes could be substantial and also bolster that label's profile.
“Further, ingredient disclosure in a broad category of products will help consumers.
“Clearly, the problem is much bigger, but Walmart's announcement today appears to be a meaningful down payment on an enhanced chemical policy. We urge other retailers to both learn from and improve upon it. "