Target Unveils Policy Aimed At Removing Potentially Harmful Chemicals From Products

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

The ingredient lists dotting the aisles of Target could soon get a makeover, one aimed not only at making the lists easier to read, but reducing the amount and types of chemicals used. 

Target on Wednesday unveiled new guidelines for manufacturers that will require them to remove certain chemicals from products and list all ingredients on products over the next five years.

With the policy change, Target aims to provide customers with more transparency when rummaging through the aisles for all types of products, including children’s clothing, table furnishings, and cleaning products.

Under the plan, by 2020, Target will ensure that beauty, baby care, personal care, and household cleaning products do not contain chemicals including phthalates, propyl-parabens, butyl-parabens, formaldehyde, or NPE’s.

The ingredient lists for affected products must also contain more detailed information than what’s currently allowed. For example, a vague term like “fragrance” would likely need more explanation.

Further down the road, Target will require manufacturers to remove perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from children’s clothing and table wear by 2022.

During that same timeframe, the company will work to ensure the makers of products like sleeping bags, rugs, and clothing do not contain flame retardant chemicals that can possibly be harmful to customers’ health.

In a bid to help manufacturers abide by its new policies, Target says it will invest up to $5 million in green chemistry innovation to find replacements for the chemicals it will no longer allow.

Target isn’t the first big box retailer to work with manufacturers to remove chemicals from products. In July 2016, Walmart began encouraging suppliers to remove eight controversial chemicals from items.

The affected chemicals were mostly found in beauty and personal-care products, and Walmart now brags that it has eliminated 95% of the total of these substances by weight used in various products sold at Walmart.