Target to Phase Out Many Suspect Chemicals

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Target will rate thousands of the products that line its shelves in partnership with Good Guide, from cleaners and shampoos to makeup and baby products, offering greater promotional clout to those that use few or none of a long list of suspect chemicals–more than 100 in all. Products will also be rated on transparency, packaging, environmental impact and animal testing.

Target is the nation’s third largest retailer, and its move comes about a month after Wal-Mart, the largest, announced its intentions to have its suppliers avoid 10 of the most concerning chemicals.

For years, consumers have struggled to avoid chemicals that, in many cases, have never been tested for safety, but which are used widely in consumer products. Sometimes, the chemicals can be found on ingredient lists, and sometimes they can’t. It’s virtually impossible for any consumer to keep track of the list of chemicals about which concerns have been raised–often with laboratory results that are contested by the companies that manufacture or use the chemicals.

Removing suspect chemicals from products at the retail level will eliminate much of the worry, and make it possible to shop without as much anxiety about the environmental or health impacts of the products we buy.

Target’s list of suspect chemicals largely mirrors one created by the advocacy group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families this Spring, the group said.

Andy Igrejas, executive director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families said: “No other retailer has agreed to take on as many chemicals as Target. This announcement is historic for its breadth and it will help reshape the U.S. marketplace in favor of safer chemicals… The good news is that Target is moving away from the “chemical of the month” model and toward a more proactive policy that begins to approach the scale of the problem. We are all exposed to thousands of chemicals from the products that we bring into our homes, including known toxic chemicals and those that have never been tested for safety. The government isn’t minding the store, so the retailers themselves – and their customers – have to.”

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