[Pharmwaste] Concerned Consumers Demand Walgreens Reduce Sale of Products Containing Toxic Chemicals

DeBiasi, Deborah (DEQ) Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov
Fri Apr 18 16:50:01 EDT 2014


Concerned Consumers Demand Walgreens Reduce Sale of Products Containing Toxic Chemicals<http://www.ecori.org/public-safety/2014/4/16/concerned-consumers-demand-walgreens-reduce-sale-of-products.html>
By ecoRI News staff
PROVIDENCE - Concerned activists recently descended on the Walgreens at 333 Atwells Ave., saying the company has failed to take action to reduce the sale of products containing toxic chemicals. The shoppers pointed to a new study showing that some of the company's products contain harmful chemicals linked to cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and other serious health problems.
The April 16 event was part of a national "Mind the Store<http://mindthestore.saferchemicals.org/>" day of action to raise awareness of toxic chemicals in consumer products. Similar events took place at some 35 Walgreens nationwide.
"Legislation on chemical safety is decades old. Other companies are making policies that end the use of hazardous chemicals in their products," said Kassi Archambault, a Clean Water Action organizer. "Stores that take this family friendly step in consideration of their customers' health will get my business and will tap into the support of legions of concerned families across the country. It's that simple."
The action was in response to a study<http://www.healthystuff.org/findings.04162014.walgreensMTS.php> by HealthyStuff.org, a project of the Ecology Center, that found that many Walgreens products contain hazardous chemicals. Parents returned the products containing toxic chemicals, and delivered postcards to the store manager signed by concerned customers.
"We should be able to trust that a store like Walgreens in our neighborhood has safe products on their shelves that don't contain the most hazardous ingredients, like lead or triclosan," said Jamie Rhodes, a Warwick father and Clean Water Action Rhode Island director. "We want to support stores that show this level of caring for our families and our pets, and are frankly surprised that Walgreens isn't taking more of a step in this direction. Scouring the fine print on labels, hoping to leave the store with safe products, is simply not practical or feasible."
Since last April, more than 60,000 customers have sent Walgreens letters urging the company to create an action plan on the "Hazardous 100+" toxic chemicals. To date, the company hasn't responded to the Mind the Store campaign's letters or requests to meet.
Similar events took place in neighboring Massachusetts.
"Preventing harm to our health from toxic chemicals is a moral imperative," said Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches. "We know that the most vulnerable among us to these chemicals include pregnant women, young children, and communities of color already overburdened with pollution. We hope that Walgreens takes this into account and moves forward with a more health protective store policy."
Scientists at HealthyStuff.org tested 44 products from Walgreens, including household cleaning products, school supplies, pet toys and everyday consumer products. Many were found to have one or more chemicals, including PVC (vinyl) plastic, phthalates, organotins and heavy metals that have been identified to be toxic to public health.
Walgreens also carries a broad selection of personal care products that contain chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive disorders, such as triclosan in toothpaste, lead in lipstick and formaldehyde releasers in baby shampoo.

Laboratory testing identified high levels of phthalates in a number of products sold at Walgreens, including a 3-ring binder, vinyl shower curtain, iPod/iPhone charger and a handbag. Of the 13 vinyl products screened for phthalates, all 13 tested positive for regulated phthalates at levels greater than 10,000 parts per million.

About 30 percent (13 of 44) of the products tested contained high chlorine levels, suggesting they may be made of the toxic plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC). A pet tennis ball contained elevated levels of lead. About 27 percent of the products tested contained antimony-based flame retardants, and 20 percent of the products tested contained organotins.

"Retailers like Walgreens have the responsibility to sell products that are safe, not toxic," said Mike Schade, Mind the Store campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. "While other big retailers are beginning to tackle toxic chemicals, Walgreens has yet to develop a comprehensive plan of action to address unnecessary dangerous chemicals in the products they sell."

In recent months, several major national retailers including Walmart, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond have announced initiatives to disclose and limit the use of chemicals that are known hazards and appear on the Mind the Store's Hazardous 100+<http://mindthestore.saferchemicals.org/hazardous100+> list.

Deborah L. DeBiasi
Email:   Deborah.DeBiasi at deq.virginia.gov
WEB site address:  www.deq.virginia.gov<http://www.deq.virginia.gov/>
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
Office of Water Permits
Industrial Pretreatment/Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) Program
PPCPs, EDCs, and Microconstituents
Mail:          P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA  23218
Location:  629 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA  23219
PH:         804-698-4028      FAX:      804-698-4032

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