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Advocacy Groups Promote Elimination of Potentially Hazardous Chemicals

12/07/2017

Organizations such as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families are pressuring retailers to stock items which are free of potentially hazardous chemicals.  Personal care and home cleaning products are at the top of the list but it is expected that the range of products will be expanded.  The “Personal Safety and Health” organizations are evaluating products and rating retailers assigning grades from A to Fail with annual updates on improvements. 

In the newly released November 14th report card, retailers scoring B or higher included Apple, Walmart, Target, CVS Health, while Albertsons and Costco were assigned C- grades.  Walmart published a chemicals policy in 2013 and has joined the Chemical Footprint Project supported by Clean Production Action, a non-chemical and alternative advocacy group. 

Studies conducted by CVS Health showed that shoppers are concerned about potentially hazardous chemicals. This is fueled by information of dubious value available on the internet.  House brands appear to be a specific target of organizations promoting “green chemistry” and CVS is actively urging suppliers to remove parabens, phthalates and any compound that releases formaldehyde from their products.

As with many regulatory trends, EU standards are readily adopted by U.S. activists groups.  The list of 2,700 chemicals to be eliminated or reduced in consumer products was compiled by the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals Regulations (REACH).

The problem of blanket bans on specific compounds by chemical name does not take into account either level of exposure either through concentration or duration.  Unfortunately the exercise of demonizing beneficial compounds and additives may degenerate into a “Science Babe” exercise of eliminating all compounds that a person with a high school education cannot pronounce.

In the short term, it would not appear that the egg industry has any immediate concerns with either shell eggs or liquids. Packaging material or chemical compounds used in the production process may be subject to scrutiny and result in restrictions or sanctions.

As with welfare, a major restraint to the egg industry, consumer concerns, fanned by organizations ranging in their motivation from sincerity through mendacity and extending to zealotry may have an influence in the near future.  As with many trends, it is best to understand the motivation of critics and antagonists in order to develop a preemptive defense. If there are any obvious problem compounds including insecticides, these must be voluntarily removed from the production chain in advance of condemnation.

 

(SMS 1,991-17 December 7th 2017)