I have been blogging about the dangers of triclosan — an anti-microbial chemical used to kill germs — since I started this blog back in September 2009. (Check out my coverage here.) As I have mentioned many times, triclosan is a chemical that turns into dioxin when exposed to the sun. It breeds antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It’s also been reported to be an endocrine disruptor, possibly affecting fertility as well as bringing on early puberty. Oh, and you can find it everywhere. It’s in hand soaps, baked into toys and countertops, and added to toothpaste among other uses. Greenies like me and a select group of scientists have been sounding the alarm for years, but to no avail. Until now — maybe.
Today Wal-Mart during a live webcast of its Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting announced several improvements to its Global Sustainability program. These improvements will help remove from its shelves many of the chemicals that scientists have been decrying for years including, the media surmises, triclosan.
Walmart didn’t come out and say it. Instead, in its webcast executives said the company would be asking to “drive more transparency” for ten chemicals that can be found in cosmetics, personal care products, and household cleaners. (Watch the video around the 35 minute mark to see this part of the announcement.) They didn’t outline specific chemicals, but it would stand to reason that triclosan, which Procter & Gamble this month announced it would remove from its products by 2014, is among that ten. (P&G said it would be removing phthalates, formaldehydes, and parabens –more endocrine disrupting categories and toxins — too.) Another solid move in the right direction: “Beginning in January 2015, Walmart will require suppliers to provide online public ingredient disclosure for items sold at Walmart.”
It’s no secret that Walmart isn’t my favorite company, but on the other hand it wields so much power that anything it does ripples over to the rest of the consumer packaged goods category. So bravo, Walmart, and thanks.