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Shopping Toxic-Free for You and Baby

November 15, 2018

Are there toxic flame retardant chemicals in the padding of the Macy’s rocking chair you want to buy for the baby’s room? Is the Giant grocery store doing anything about the level of arsenic in the infant rice cereal they sell? Are there toxic phthalates in the yoga mat at Nordstrom’s that you’re thinking about buying for your prenatal yoga class?

Many well-respected retailers can’t give you an honest answer to these types of questions because they don’t have a program in place to get answers from their suppliers about chemical content.

So, how can we know the answers if retailers aren’t asking these questions of the companies that make the products they sell?

That’s the fundamental idea behind the new Mind the Store report card that ranks 40 retailers on toxic chemicals. The companies that got the best grades–Apple, Target, Walmart, Ikea–are those who ask all their suppliers to disclose the chemicals in their products and move to the use of safer alternatives.

The 19 chain stores and restaurants that flunked–including Nordstrom, Macy’s (which also owns Bloomingdales and Bluemercury), Trader Joe’s and Ahold Delhaize (the parent company for Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Giant and Hannaford)–haven’t even taken baby steps to address their chemical problem.

The good progress that Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid and Amazon have already made since last year’s Report Card shows that it’s not too late for the 19 flunkers. Each company needs to develop a written safer chemicals policya plan their customers can see that includes goals, timelines, tracking tools and reporting requirements for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern. The Chemical Footprint Project gives companies a framework for how to improve their score and lower the levels of dangerous chemicals in their products.

You can help! With just a few clicks you can send a message to the CEOs of the 19 companies that earned Fs for failing to address the problem of toxic chemicals in the products they sell us.

And the next time you’re in a retailer with a high Mind the Store grade, thank them for doing their part for healthier babies with brighter futures.