NEW YORK -- Wal-Mart announced Thursday that it will require its suppliers to phase out about 10 hazardous chemicals from personal care products, cosmetics and cleaning products sold in its stores.
It will also require the suppliers to disclose chemicals in those products.
The moves follow an announcement made by Procter & Gamble Co.., the world's largest consumer product maker, earlier this month that it will eliminate phthalates and triclosan from its beauty products by 2014. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson pledged to eliminate phthalates, triclosan, formaldehydes and parabens from all its personal care products globally.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says that beginning in January, the company will monitor progress on reducing and eliminating the chemicals in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives and will begin to publicly report on it in January 2016.
In a conference call with the media, Andrea Thomas, Wal-Mart's senior vice president of sustainability, declined to immediately identify all chemicals being phased out, noting that the company wants to work collaboratively with suppliers before making that public. She said the retailer came up with the chemicals based on their environmental impact and whether there were greener alternatives. Experts believe that the germ-killing additive triclosan is on the list.
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the safety of triclosan, commonly used in antibacterial soaps and other items. Some studies in animals have suggested that it could increase the risk of infertility, early puberty and other hormone-related problems, though results from animal studies don't always apply to humans.
"The objective of this policy is to help ensure that household cleaning, personal care, beauty and cosmetic products sold by Wal-Mart will minimize hazards to people or the environment," Wal-Mart said in a statement.
by guest blogger Ava Anderson, natural beauty expert and safe cosmetics advocate
I always say that it is all about the ingredients, and I recommend using products without harmful ingredients in order to reduce your daily, weekly, yearly, and lifetime body burden of chemicals with known and suspected disease implications. Since up to 60 percent of what you put on your skin reaches your bloodstream (this increases to almost 100 percent with scalp, underarm, and groin exposure), it makes sense to use cosmetics that DO NOT add to your body burden of toxic chemicals.
Over time, you should replace all harmful personal care products, but here are three cosmetics we recommend tackling first:
1. Foundation. Foundation is a good place to start, as many women cover their whole face and neck with it daily. Liquid foundations contain many harmful chemicals, including the following, found in a major drugstore brand: propylene glycol, methylparaben, and propylparaben, all of which are considered endocrine disruptors. These are important to avoid because the endocrine system regulates ALL biological processes in the body, including development of the brain and nervous system, growth and function of the reproductive system, and metabolism and blood sugar regulation, as well as the functions of the ovaries, testes, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN recently released a report calling endocrine disruptors a "global threat" to fertility and the environment. In 2011, another shocking study showed that methylparaben along with an endocrine disruptor widely found in food, BPA, turned healthy cells into cancer cells and rendered the breast cancer drug tamoxafin ineffective.
The same brand also contains ingredients that have the potential to be contaminated with cancer causers: PEG/PPG 10 dimethicone, PEG/PPG 18, retinyl acetate, tocopheryl acetate, laureth 7