Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Apple, Target & Walmart Scored a's but why did Nordstroms, Starbucks and Trader Joes Score Fs? What are Your Favorite Stores Doing to Protect You From Chemicals?

Wondering if you favorite stores  are taking any action to protect you from toxic chemicals?

Today, the third annual Who’s Minding the Store? report card was published and in it they ranks 40 top retailers on their actions on toxic chemicals and sustainability.  The companies selected for evaluation were among the top forty North American retailers by sales or commanded the largest market share in one of twelve major retail sectors… in other words we all shop at, at least some, of these retailers. 

Why Do We need Retailers to Protect Consumers from Toxic Chemicals?

With over 82,000 chemicals currently legally being used,  consumer products we use on our family and in our homes every single day are exposing us to a cocktail of chemicals. Prenatal and early childhood exposure to harmful chemicals in consumer products and food packaging can lead to life-long impacts and chronic health conditions including cancer, infertility, neurological damage and other health problems.

In a perfect world our government would be at the forefront of protecting its citizens from toxic chemicals in everyday products, however our government has been failing at this for years.   As parents, many of us are doing the research to protect our families from many harmful chemicals but it is important to urge retailers to join us in this fight and take the lead.   When retailers get on board, they can force manufacturers to make substantial changes in the ingredients they use in their products.

According to Mike Schade, co author of the report, “Retailers have an important role to play – they have both the power and the moral responsibility to eliminate and safely replace toxic chemicals to ‘mind the store.’ They should stop letting chemical corporations put public health at risk.”

The good news?  Consumers might not be able to pressure the current government to change chemical laws BUT we actually can be very powerful when it comes to putting pressure on retailers.   We can vote with our wallets by choosing retailers and products that are taking steps to protect us and, in turn they will see how important this is to their consumers and take stronger steps to assure our safety.

Retailers we can trust:  

This year, the retailers that are doing the most to protect consumers from nasty chemicals, and thus received the highest marks,  were Apple (A+), Target (A), Walmart (A-) and IKEA (A-).

These four retailers are working directly with suppliers to disclose and replace dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives. 

Walgreens, Rite Aid and Amazon are the most improved retailers of 2018, each adopting sweeping chemicals policies. Walgreens (B-) and Rite Aid (B+) pledged to eliminate a long list of chemicals of concern in beauty, personal care and household cleaning products. Amazon (C) will encourage suppliers of some private-brand products to restrict dangerous chemicals, the first safer chemical policy of a dedicated e-commerce retailer. 
Also taking important steps is Whole Foods (B+)

Retailers that are lagging

Unfortunately, the average grade of all 40 retailers was a D+. And almost half of them earned Fs for failing to address the chemical safety of the products they sell in any way shape or form. 

Somewhat surprising, these companies earned an F grade because they lack any sort of public policy to address toxic chemicals: #TraderJoes, @ultabeauty  @Starbuck
and @nordstroms

Chain restaurants were analyzed for the first time this year and significantly lagged behind other retailers in reducing chemical hazards. These companies have been slow to announce chemicals policies and to publicly address toxic chemicals, such as phthalates and PFAS, in packaging and other food contact materials. Six fast food chains were evaluated representing 10 brands, with all companies earning Fs: Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s, Panera, Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Taco Bell, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, and Subway. 

Of specific interest to parents:

Buy Buy Baby scored a D+
Macys scored an F
Nordstroms scored an F
Dollar Tree scored a D
Pubix:  F
Starbucks : F
Trader Joes: F

You can see the whole report HERE 

Want to take action?

TAKE ACTION! With one click, you can send a message to the CEOs of all 19 retailers that earned Fs in this year’s Who’s Minding the Store? report card.

What Does This Mean for You?:

Knowing which retailers have your back in important because it means you can shop at these locations with a bit less anxiety and a bit more trust.  Yes, you still have to be informed as these grades do not mean that everything in these stores is organic, Fair Trade, sustainable and 100% toxin free but - in the retailers with the best grades- you can rest assured that the absolutely worse chemicals out there will not be present in any item they sell.   

There are smaller retailers, both local and on line, that are leading the way when it comes to providing their customers with a worry free toxin free zone.   Supporting these retailers is also important to assure their efforts continue to be successful.  Some of my favorite, trusted retailers are:

Sprout San Francisco

1 comment :

  1. Thanks so much for blogging about our report!

    We appreciate all the good work you do to educate parents about steps they can take to safeguard their family's health.