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Top 3 Lessons from Walmart's Bold New Chemical Policy

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Coming Clean Campaign page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

The world's largest retailer sent a shot across the bow of the chemical industry last week with new rules requiring companies selling cosmetics and cleaning products to fully disclose ingredients and eliminate a priority list of hazardous chemicals.

Walmart's new chemical policy sends a loud and clear message to the market: People don't want to buy toxic products.

The list of priority chemicals has not been released to the public -- ironic, considering Walmart's call for greater transparency -- but we can guess at likely suspects from Procter & Gamble's recent announcement that it is dropping phthalates and triclosan. Johnson & Johnson is also on record with plans to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, parabens and formaldehyde -- chemicals consumer groups have been pressuring companies for years to remove.

While we're left guessing at the chemicals, and wondering how meaningful the fragrance disclosure requirements will be, we know one thing for certain: This is a huge victory for the millions of people who are demanding safer products. Walmart's new policy signals a sea change for companies: complying with regulatory requirements is no longer enough; consumer demand has grown too loud to ignore.   


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