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Target expands list of unwanted chemicals & substances

Target expanded a list of almost 600 chemicals it wants removed from its shelves. Bloomberg Media reported that the Minneapolis-based company is putting pressure on their vendors to remove harmful chemicals eliciting heath concerns such as triclosan.

Triclosan is “an antibacterial ingredient that is under review in hand soaps and sanitizers by the U.S. Food and Drug administration and was banned from products in [Minneapolis] last year”.

As eWater reported in September last year, the FDA said that there was not enough evidence to show these products were better than ordinary soap and water, and that they could do more harm than good.

The ruling cited concerns from scientists that long-term exposure to these chemicals could promote antibiotic resistance and disrupt hormones.

According to ABC journalist Nicole Chette, "When the ABC contacted four other manufacturers, they each confirmed they would eliminate the chemicals that are banned in the US in the next 12 months. Those companies were Woolworths, Aldi, Colgate-Palmolive and Reckitt Benckiser (RB) — the makers of Dettol".

Target has ensured that “suppliers receive incentives for removing taboo substances” on the list, titled Product Sustainability Index. 

The move by Target follows Walmart's push into the green chemistry movement. In May last year Walmart published their annual Global Responsibility Report which outlined the company's intension to gradually reduce and subsequently remove chemicals which are - in the light of considerable scientific research - considered to be harmful to the heath of consumers. 

According to Target spokeswoman, Angie Thompson, “The effort is a response to the demand from customers, who have told [Target] they want more healthy choices”. 

The embrace by two of America’s largest retailers represents endorsement of an emerging, critically important sustainability shift. It is a cogent reminder of the power major businesses have to reduce business and consumer risk whilst also setting the benchmark for a more sustainably conscious future. 

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