U.S. Discounter Walmart Bans Harmful Substances from Its Products

Walmart has compiled a list of high priority chemicals (HPC) that the discounter wants to ban from its products. The substances include toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), diethyl phthalate (DEP), nonylphenol exthoxylates (NPE, including nine CAS numbers), formaldehyde, butylparaben, propylparaben, and triclosan. If the FDA allows, however, triclosan can be used as an active ingredient that provides therapeutic benefit.

In selecting the substances, Walmart used official lists of harmful substances, the quantities used, the burden placed on the consumer, and new regulations that are being planned for the substances.

Walmart began its environmental program three years ago with the support of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). The company was able to reduce the amount of these substances by up to 95% (by weight) in most products, including health and beauty aids, household cleaning agents, and baby products. That’s “over 11,500 tons – 23 million pounds – of chemicals out of so much product in less than 24 months,” says Michelle Mauthe Harvey of the EDF. The goal is to remove all the substances completely from the products. Some 90,000 products from 700 vendors are involved.

In particular, products that come into contact with the skin must be safe. Companies that substitute safe substances for risky ones gain a long-term competitive advantage. If you have any questions about regulatory chemical compliance, we are pleased to provide answers and advice at cosmetic@kft.de.

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