Target aims for healthier products under veil of secrecy

From The Guardian, By Bill Lascher

This is the second article in a series on US retailers’ efforts to curb the use of legal, but potentially harmful, chemicals in household products. The first, by Marc Gunther, discussed the idea that retailers are acting as regulators. The third, by me, discusses Walmart’s sustainable chemicals policy.

Search for “shaving cream” on Target’s website and the first result that comes up is Barbasol Shaving Cream Soothing Aloe. Want sunscreen? A US west coast search turns up Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen. Need to wash your hair? The first result for shampoo is Macadamia Rejuvenating Shampoo.

While shoppers can choose from thousands of personal care products at Target, these high-ranking products – along with many others – contain hazardous ingredients, according to lists that will inform the company’s new sustainable products standard. The shaving cream and shampoo both contain propyl parabens, which may disrupt hormones and contribute to breast cancer, while the sunblock contains – among other red-flagged ingredients – oxybenzone, which may trigger a variety of skin conditions when exposed to sunlight.

These ingredients have been identified as chemicals of concern byGoodGuide, a product-safety-testing lab working with Target on its new guidelines, which were announced in October. These ratings don’t prove that these products – or thousands of others that received low health scores in GoodGuide’s database – are unsafe, but they do illustrate the potentially vast reach of Target’s new chemicals-targeting policy. Many well known products, including those mentioned above, could ultimately be affected.

Read the full article here.