The Toxic Twenty

Laggard retailers warrant failing grades for their poor chemicals policies

The Retailer Report Card is the review and grading of the chemical policies of major retailers who, in an ideal world, carry only products without hazardous chemicals. Unfortunately, our federal laws do not adequately regulate chemicals to prevent possible effects on human health. Instead, we rely on manufacturers to create safer products and entrust retailers to have on their shelves only vetted products. Retailers play an essential role by requiring manufacturers to follow their policies and protocols as a prerequisite to being offered to customers to buy.

Some companies have taken the lead in creating chemical policies for their store brands and even products made by other manufacturers. These include Apple, Walmart, Target, IKEA, CVS and Best Buy. We applaud their efforts which can consist of a variety of policies and practices such as:

  • wrote a public safer chemicals policy,
  • developed and enforce a restricted chemicals list,
  • set quantifiable and public goals with clear timelines for reducing and eliminating chemicals of high concern,
  • a signatory to the Chemical Footprint Project and pilot it with key private label suppliers.

Another group of retailers, which we have been calling “Toxic Twenty” are the laggards in the retail world who received a D or F grade for their poor marks in meeting the criteria about chemical policy. Retailers got an F if they had zero points because they have not even started to think about these issues.

In the cases of Family Dollar and Dollar Tree, these stores may be a source of food in particular areas without grocery stores, called food deserts. Sally Beauty Supply and ULTA are entrusted with women’s personal and daily care, and it’s concerning that they do not have the policy to prevent hazardous chemicals from being used in their products they are selling. All retailers should be concerned about toxic chemicals.

Healthy Stuff at the Ecology Center would like to thank the Mind the Store campaign at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families for doing this work. The full report of the Retailer Report Card can be found at


Published on March 27, 2018