Several years ago, Walmart promised to move toward eliminating chemicals that had been shown to be dangerous for human health from products sold in its stores. The promise was vague though, so recently, the retailer followed up with a specific, detailed list of eight chemicals that it will require suppliers to exclude from all products stocked on its shelves. All eight chemicals are common in consumer products, such as the butylparabens that help preserve cosmetics; diethyl phthalate, which when added to plastic items makes them more flexible; triclosan, a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps; and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen that is common in wood products. Some suppliers have no problems with the new list; according to Procter & Gamble, 99 percent of its products already have eliminated the eight identified compounds. In addition, the scientific evidence about the harms of these chemicals suggests that federal regulations might soon prohibit them altogether. For now though, Walmart is moving the needle by insisting on the changes from its suppliers immediately. In so doing, it also can assure consumers that it is keeping their best interests at heart.
Source: Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Andrew Martin, Bloomberg, July 20, 2016