Wal-Mart names eight chemicals to be removed from products

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday it was pushing suppliers to remove or restrict the use of eight hazardous chemicals from products including household cleaning, personal care and beauty items.

A person walks outside a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

The retailer named the chemicals including formaldehyde, a carcinogen found in wood products and building materials, in the wake of pressure from consumers who are increasingly becoming conscious of what goes into their food and household items.

Target Corp also moved last year to remove more than 1,000 chemicals from its household cleaning, personal care and beauty products, and has been promoting the products that comply.

The chemicals Wal-Mart wants to remove include butylparaben, used as a preservative in cosmetics, and triclosan, used in clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. Triclosan is also used in toothpaste, but Wal-Mart said it would not press for its removal because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulators have deemed it safe for this use.

Procter & Gamble, a major supplier to Wal-Mart, uses parabens within safe limits set by scientific and regulatory agencies and their presence is disclosed on labels, according to the company website.

It also said it had eliminated triclosan from more than 99 percent of the products where it was used and had an exit plan for the few remaining.

Wal-Mart committed in 2013 to increase transparency about ingredients in products it sells, advance safer formulations and attain the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice certification for its private brand products.

The policy, effective from January 2014, focuses on products sold at Walmart and Sam's Club stores in the United States, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which said it worked with Wal-Mart to develop and implement its policy. (

Wal-Mart said in April that its suppliers had removed 95 percent of the eight high-priority chemicals by volume weight from the products it sells in the United States.

“These eight chemicals and chemical classes were among the most ubiquitous found in home and personal care products sold at Walmart,” the EDF said in a statement.

Wal-Mart’s policy also requires that the use of any priority chemical must be disclosed on its packaging starting 2018, EDF said.

The retailer also said on Wednesday it would work with suppliers to encourage them to disclose ingredients in all markets where they operate, not just the United States.

(This story corrects paragraph 4 to make it clear that Wal-Mart is not pushing for Triclosan to be removed from toothpaste; Removes reference to Colgate-Palmolive previously defending use of Triclosan in toothpaste)

Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram and Gayathree Ganesan; Editing by Anil D’Silva