Amazon, the online retailer with the world’s highest revenue, wants to ban hazardous substances from its products. It has therefore begun its own Chemicals Management Program.
A central part of the program is the collation of a list of hazardous chemicals whose use is already strictly limited (Restricted Substance List: RSL). The list includes 54 substances, among them phthalates, nonylphenol (NP) and nonylphenol ethoxylate (NPE) surfactants, parabens, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, toluene, and triclosan. All these substances are carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic to reproduction or are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.
The company’s primary focus will first be on Amazon-branded products for baby care, household cleaning, body care, and beauty. In later stages, the company will expand its safety standard to all products.
Amazon has also moved ahead in terms of transparency. Customer access to information about product ingredients should be as simple as access to price data and customer reviews. It will also locate certifications and quality indicators from third parties, such as Safer Choice, Made Safe, Green Seal, and Cradle to Cradle more prominently on its Web site to direct customers’ attention to products that are friendlier to the environment.
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