Our homes, schools, and workplaces are filled with toxic chemicals that have been proven to have dangerous health effects. These health effects are so widespread that many doctors and scientists refer to this as a “silent epidemic.”
Studies show that more than 90% of American women of childbearing age have toxic chemicals in their bodies that will increase the risk of cancer, reproductive harm, brain damage and loss of intelligence in their babies.
Many of the toxic chemicals that endanger our families are where we least expect them – such as our clothing, electronics and food.
Every year exposure to toxic chemicals costs the U.S. more than 130 billion dollars in health care, social services, special education, and lost productivity.
Just as we are learning more about how many toxic chemicals our families are exposed to, the federal government is rolling back regulation of those products and putting the chemical industry in charge of government programs that are supposed to protect us from chemicals.
It’s time for a change.
We can prevent harm and protect public health by taking common-sense steps to phase out toxic chemicals in everyday products.
Retailers have an important role to play – they have not only the power but also a moral responsibility to eliminate and safely replace toxic chemicals to “mind the store.” We trust retailers to provide the best for our families and believe it’s only fair that they enact sensible policies to protect our health and environment. They should stop letting chemical corporations put public health at risk.
In 2013 Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families launched the Mind the Store campaign to challenge the nation’s biggest retailers to sell safer products that are free from toxic chemicals that threaten public health and the environment.
We have reason for hope. Since we launched the campaign five years ago, we’ve seen an incredible amount of activity in the retail marketplace to drive chemicals of concern out of commerce and develop more comprehensive solutions. Over the past year alone, we’ve seen numerous retailers, such as Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Walmart drive toxic chemicals out of paint removal products, and others, such as Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Amazon, step up by developing safer chemicals policies.
Over the past few years, our report Who’s Minding the Store? — A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals set out to evaluate the progress that has been made and challenges that remain in the retail marketplace. It is the third annual evaluation of the safer chemicals programs of the nation’s largest retailers in the United States and comes just in time for the holiday shopping season.
To evaluate the progress made since last year, as well as the continued need for market transformation, we have updated and expanded our report card. This year we expanded the report card to add a dozen new retailers – forty in total. For the first time we’ve included restaurant and fast food chains, which have an important role to play in protecting consumers from toxic chemicals such as phthalates and PFAS. We also expanded the geographic scope by including some stores based in Canada.
Our investigation found that a number of retailers have continued to make significant progress over the past year but far too many remain serious laggards. Nineteen out of forty companies we evaluated received failing grades. The nation’s biggest retailers must continue to expand and accelerate their policies and programs, given the mounting amount of scientific evidence demonstrating the urgent public health crisis posed by hazardous chemicals.
It’s time for leading retailers to “mind the store” and meet the rising consumer demand for safe and healthy products. The health of our families demands it.