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Is your sofa dangerous? How about your shampoo? Retailers urged to pull potentially toxic products

Do you know what is in your shampoo? Did you know that hundreds, maybe even thousands of products, available on store shelves may contain dangerous chemicals?

Health and environmental groups launched a national campaign Thursday to urge 10 major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Costco, to remove products containing hazardous chemicals from their shelves.

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and nearly four dozen other groups sent a letter Wednesday to 10 retailers asking them to create a plan in the next year to phase out the use of more than 100 chemicals. The chemicals are used in hundreds of products including wrinkle-free clothes, vinyl flooring, shampoos, sofa cushions and food packaging.

Andy Igrejas of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families says he’s calling on retailers to stop selling products that contain chemicals whose exposure has been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer, infertility, learning disabilities and behavioral problems. The list of chemicals includes formaldehyde, BPA and flame retardants.

The coalition says they are aiming their message at retailers because the federal government is not doing enough to keep dangerous products off shelves. Igrejas says many chemicals used in products you can buy in stores are not federal tested or forced to submit safety data.

The 10 stores targeted are:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Costco
  • Kroger
  • Walgreens
  • Home Depot
  • CVS Caremark
  • Lowe’s
  • Best Buy
  • Safeway

Several of these stores have already acted to reduce the number of products with dangerous chemicals on their shelves. Target and Walmart phased out polyvinyl chloride from products in 2007. Lowe’s and Home Depot have both stopped selling driveway sealants that contain coal tar, which is believed to have carcinogenic chemicals.

Many stores are very conscientious about the products they sell and are diligent in making sure they are safe. But efforts like these are always welcome to raise awareness among retailers and the general public.