Walmart is on a detox plan. The world's largest retailer, Walmart, announced today (Sept. 12, 2013) it would begin disclosing chemicals in many product categories, while phasing out approximately ten chemicals from products they sell in favor of safer alternatives. 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 Hundred+" in the products they sell.
“This is an unusually substantive announcement and Walmart deserves credit for that. We're encouraged that they've described this is as just the beginning of action on chemicals rather than an end,” said Andy Igrejas, executive director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
“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 the other retailers to both learn from and improve upon it," said Igrejas.
Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, is the world's biggest multinational retailer, with 2011 U.S. retail sales of over $316 million—the highest in the country. The decision many lead to other large retailers following suit. In April 2013, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, sent a letter to Walmart requesting that they begin take steps to remove hazardous chemicals from the products that pose a health risk to customers.
“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,” Igrejas said. “That's progress that can ripple across the marketplace.”
Walmart also announced that it will pursue EPA's Design for the Environment (DfE) imprimatur for it's private label products. The disclosure practices will begin in 2015 and apply to cleaners, personal care products, cosmetics and baby care.