These Companies Have Reduced Toxic Chemicals During The Pandemic

It's not every day that you hear about how top brands are making the move to reduce toxic chemicals and improve their chemical safety programs, but lucky for us, that's exactly what's been happening, according to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. In an effort to ditch their toxic ways, many recognized names such as Sephora and Whole Foods scored well on a new survey conducted by the Mind the Store campaign (via Retailer Report Card). This campaign first launched in 2013 and annually surveys 50 retail chains, covering 200,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, to evaluate their chemical policies. 

Compared to the 2016 rankings, nearly 70 percent of the companies surveyed have shown a notable growth in chemical safety programs. Not to mention, this all took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Despite a global pandemic and incredibly challenging year, retailers have continued to make substantial progress in reducing and eliminating classes of toxic chemicals like PFAS," Mike Schade, report co-author and Mind the Store campaign director, said.

With great power comes great responsibility

While many brands have made a shift towards cleaner policies, the study only found six retailers with A grades (via Safer Chemicals). The aforementioned Sephora and Whole Foods have joined the likes of Apple, Target, IKEA, and Walmart as the best-performing brands. Unfortunately for us, many of our favorite establishments and stores received failing grades such as: 7-Eleven, 99 Cents Only Stores, Ace Hardware, Alimentation Couche-Tarde (Circle K, Couche-Tard), Metro, Nordstrom, Publix, Restaurant Brands International (Burger King, Tim Hortons, Popeyes), Sally Beauty, Sobeys, Starbucks, and Subway. "There is really no excuse for these retail laggards to earn a failing grade," according to report co-author and Defend Our Health executive director Mike Belliveau. 

In a move few saw coming, the study also reported that Target and Rite Aid have committed to thoroughly evaluating beauty products marketed towards women of color for toxic chemicals found in skin lightening creams and hair straighteners and relaxers. Additionally, 12 worldwide retailers are pledging to completely eliminate or reduce toxic PFAS (forever chemicals) in food packaging, while others like Burger King have refused to take action.