The world’s biggest retailer is attempting to eliminate controversial chemicals from its shelves.
This week, Walmart asked suppliers to remove eight chemicals the company says contain “certain properties that affect human health or the environment.”
According to a report in Bloomberg, the eight chemicals are:
- Formaldehyde — Used in building materials in composites, some household products like paint and glue, fertilizers and pesticides, and as a preservative in some medicines and cosmetics.
- Triclosan — An antibacterial agent found in toothpastes, detergents and surgical cleaning treatments.
- Toluene — Used in paint thinners, nail polish and fragrances.
- Diethyl phthalate — A synthetic substances typically used to make plastic more flexible and often found in food packaging, toys and toothbrushes.
- Dibutyl phthalate — A common plasticizer that began being phased out of nail polishes in 2006.
- Nonylphenol exthoxylates — Surfactants found in industrial cleaning products, paints and laundry detergent.
- Butylparabens and propylparaben — Preservatives found in a wide variety of personal care products and foods.
Some of the chemicals are carcinogens, while others are suspected endocrine-disrupters. Many of them have already been scrutinized for years.
Formaldehyde, for example, has its own set of regulations for products like wood composites. And both of the phthalates on the list have already been phased out by some major chemical producers like Eastman Chemical Company who announced it would stop producing both diethyl phthalate and dibutyl phthalate in 2011.
Still, Bloomberg reports that the move by Walmart will affect a whopping 90,000 products made by 700 manufacturers.
Walmart is asking manufacturers to list the chemicals on product packaging by 2018 while working to switch to alternative options.
The move comes as several major retailers refine and strengthen their sustainability programs. Target, however has taken a different approach and is providing incentives to suppliers who switch to alternatives for chemicals like BPA and coal tars.