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OCA & Public Interest Groups Tell Wal-Mart to Stop Selling PVC-Tainted Toxic Toys

To:
H. Lee Scott, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 S.W. 8th Street
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716

August 21, 2007

Dear Mr. Scott:

We are writing to encourage Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to develop a plan to
phase out polyvinyl chloride (PVC), lead, and phthalates in infant and
children's toys and products.

Over the past two years, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has made commitments to phase out toxic PVC plastic in packaging, lunch boxes, baby bibs, and even building materials. These are positive corporate social responsibility initiatives that demonstrate Wal-Mart has the power to shift markets away from unnecessary toxic chemicals throughout their supply chain. Wal-Mart has stated that, "more and more studies show that PVC has toxins that can pose long-term health and environmental risks." In addition to these hazards, phasing out PVC makes business sense given that safer, cost-effective alternatives are available and that the legal, financial, and reputational risks associated with this poison plastic are growing.

Most recently, in May 2007, Wal-Mart announced a new policy to phase out PVC in baby bibs and children's products. The New York and Illinois Attorney Generals announced that Wal-Mart will stop selling PVC baby bibs and has committed to support the development of an industry standard to eliminate PVC from all products intended for use by children.

This new commitment to support eliminating PVC children's products is a significant step forward towards eliminating unnecessary toxic chemicals in children's products. This could benefit infants and children, parents, workers, and communities around the world. Wal-Mart should build on this effort by partnering with suppliers to phase out all PVC children's products and phthalates in their stores, while also supporting the development of an industry standard.

Infants and children chewing on or playing with PVC toys and baby products sold at Wal-Mart may be exposed to phthalates. These unnecessary poisonous chemicals have already been banned from use in toys in Europe, but they're still sold here in the U.S. The City of San Francisco recently passed a ban on them, and similar legislation has been introduced in seven U.S. states including New York and California.

These chemicals have been linked with many significant adverse health problems including premature birth delivery, early puberty in girls, impaired sperm quality and sperm damage in men, genital defects and reduced testosterone production in boys. Other additives, such as lead, have been documented in children's toys, lunchboxes, and even baby bibs at Wal-Mart. Short or long-term exposure to lead can harm young children, babies, and even adults. Workers making PVC toys may be exposed to these same toxic chemicals, posing unnecessary and avoidable health risks.

The good news is that safer and healthier alternatives to PVC baby / children's products and toys are widely available. A number of baby and children's toys manufactures such as Brio, Chicco, Evenflo, First Years, Gerber, International Playthings, Lamaze Infant Development, Lego Systems, Sassy, and Tiny Love have committed to phase out all PVC toys.

Other toy manufacturers such as Discovery Toys and Manhattan Baby have committed to phase out some PVC toys. Major toy companies, such as Hasbro and Mattel, have already eliminated the worst phthalates from their products and are in compliance with the EU phthalates ban.

Last fall, Wal-Mart unveiled a broad new chemicals policy that restricts some of the most toxic chemicals from their products, those that cause cancer, harm the reproductive system, and build up in our bodies and cause debilitating diseases. PVC toys sold at Wal-Mart meet virtually all of these criteria, but to date have not been adopted as part of the chemicals initiative.

Given the growing scientific evidence demonstrating the health hazards these unnecessary dangerous chemicals pose to children, and the company's existing initiatives on PVC, Wal-Mart should move forward in phasing out toxic phthalates and PVC toys and baby products.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss opportunities for Wal-Mart to phase out PVC, lead, and phthalates. To schedule a meeting please contact Mike Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator, at 212-964-3680, or mike@besafenet.com. We look forward to hearing back.

Sincerely,


Lois Gibbs, Executive Director
Mike Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
9 Murray Street, Third Floor
New York, NY 10007
212-964-3680
mike@besafenet.com

Larisa de Orbe
Acción Ecológica México

Ronnie Cummins, National Director
Organic Consumers Association

Margaret Weber, Coordinator of Corporate Responsibility
Adrian Dominican Sisters

Nathalie Walker, Co-Director & Attorney
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

Pamela K. Miller, Executive Director
Alaska Community Action on Toxics

Laura Abulafia, MHS
American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
(Formerly AAMR)

Ann E. Fonfa, President
The Annie Appleseed Project

Elena Manvelyan
Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

David Mickey, Zero Waste Coordinator
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League

Barbara A. Brenner, Executive Director
Breast Cancer Action

Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., Executive Director
Breast Cancer Fund

Rev. Charles Lord
Caney Fork Headwaters Association

Caroline Cox, Research Director
Center for Environmental Health

Stacey Gonzalez
Childproofing Our Communities Campaign

Bharati Chaturvedi, Director
Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group

Ellen Rendulich, Director
Citizens Against Ruining the Environment

Laura McCarthy, Program Associate
Citizens' Environmental Coalition

Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger

Jackie Elliott
Citizens Leading for Environmental Action and Responsibility

Jackie James
Clean Air Coalition of WNY

Beverley Thorpe, International Director
Clean Production Action

Leise Jones
Clean Water Action Alliance of Massachusetts

Diana McKeown, Program Director
Clean Water Action Midwest Office

Corinne Whitehead
Coalition for Health Concern

Shweta Narayan
Community Environmental Monitoring

Ralph Anthony Ryder, Coordinator
Communities Against Toxics

Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator
Computer TakeBack Campaign

Rev. Walter Stark
Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice

Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director
Dogwood Alliance

Yomi Noibi
ECO-Action

Beck Cowles, Information Program Manager
Ecology Center

Tracey Easthope, MPH
Ecology Center

Rachel L. Gibson, Environmental Health Advocate & Staff Attorney
Environment California

Jan Conley, Board President
Environmental Association for Great Lakes Education

Judith Robinson, Special Projects Director
Environmental Health Fund

Amanda Sears, Associate Director
Environmental Health Strategy Center

Linda Block, Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Environmental Quality Institute/UNC Asheville

Katherine M. Woodhead
Fairfield County Environmental Justice Network

Linda Ochs
Finger Lakes Citizens' for the Environment

Ellen & Paul Connett
Fluoride Action Network

Monica Wilson
GAIA: Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Denny Larson, Executive Director
Global Community Monitor

Ruben Garcia
Global Exchange

Patti Wood, Executive Director
Grassroots Environmental Education

Bradley Angel,Executive Director
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice

Rick Hind
Greenpeace

Andrew Shalit
Green Century Capital Management

Marie-Lou Roux, Executive Officer
Habitat Council

Kirsten James, Staff Scientist
Heal the Bay

Anna Gilmore Hall
Health Care Without Harm

Bill Ravanesi MA, MPH
Health Care Without Harm-Boston

Claire L. Barnett, Executive Director
Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

Debra Hall
Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water

Wael Hmaidan
Executive Director
IndyAct - The League of Independent Activists

Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT
INND (Institute of Neurotoxicology & Neurological Disorders)

Kathleen Schuler, MPH, Senior Policy Analyst
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Bama Athreya, Executive Director
International Labor Rights Forum

Craig Williams
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
Chemical Weapons Working Group

Korea Zero Waste Movement Network

Lauren Heine, Ph.D., Principal
Lauren Heine Group LLC

Justine Maloney
Learning Disabilities Association of America

Marylee M. Orr, Executive Director
Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Paul Orr
Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper

Laura Russello, MSW
Michigan Clean Water Action

Mary Brune
MOMS (Making Our Milk Safe)

Sonia S. Mendoza, Chairman
Mother Earth Foundation

Donald B. Clark
Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility

Bill Couzens, President
Next Generation Choices Foundation

Setsu Yamamoto
Non-Incineration Citizens, Japan

Sandy Buchanan
Ohio Citizen Action

Cheyenne Chapman, JD, LLM, Chemicals Policy Program Director
Oregon Center for Environmental Health

Sara Wright
Environmental Health Program Director
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Amanda Mongeon.
People for a Health Environment in Timiskaming

Kristin Schafer, Campaigns Director
Pesticide Action Network North America

E.M.T. O'Nan, Director
Protect All Children's Environment

Tony Del Plato & Margaret McCasland
PVC Awareness Group

Diane Lund, Board Chair
Rachel's Friends Breast Cancer Coalition

Randy Hayes
Founder of Rainforest Action Network & former Director of Sustainability
of City of Oakland

Granny Ruth
Raging Grannies Action League of San Francisco Bay Area

Judy Braiman
Rochesterians Against the Misuse of Pesticides

Adrienne Maree Brown, Executive Director
The Ruckus Society

Katie Silberman, Associate Director
Science & Environmental Health Network

Ed Hopkins
Sierra Club

Sheila Davis, Executive Director
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

Jenny Chan, Chief Coordinator
Students & Scholars against Corporate Misbehavior

George Cheng, Executive Director
Taiwan Watch Institute
Inese Holte, Director of Communications
TOXIC

Charity Carbine, Environmental Health Advocate
VPIRG

Roger Cook, Executive Director
Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health

Janelle Sorensen
Women's Environmental Institute

Dr. Karine Manukyan
Women for Green Way for Generations

Alexandra Gorman, Director of Science and Research
Women's Voices for the Earth

CC: Andy Ruben, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Rand Waddoups, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
JP Suarez, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Scott McCall, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Doug Walt, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Jib Elison, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting
John Whelan, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting
Marc Major, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting
John Buffington, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting
Adam Hyde, Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting




--

Mike Schade
PVC Campaign Coordinator
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
9 Murray Street, Floor 3, New York, NY 10007-2223
Phone: (212) 964-3680
Fax: (212) 349-1366
mike@besafenet.com
www.besafenet.com/pvc
www.chej.org

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