Yesterday, WalMart announced a new policy on Sustainable Chemistry in Consumables, addressing chemicals used in home, beauty and personal care products. The policy focuses on reducing or eliminating specific chemicals from products and requiring online public ingredient disclosure from brand owners.
ACC and our members are committed to working as part of the value chain to ensure that chemicals can be safely used in consumer products like the ones being addressed by WalMart’s new policy. Over the past few months, ACC and many of our members have been talking with WalMart about issues related to chemical safety, product performance, innovation and the significant amount of regulatory oversight of home and personal care products.
It is important for chemical selection decisions to be based on sound science. We believe that assessing product safety is more than simply noting the presence of a chemical substance in a formulation. It must also include considerations of product use, user exposure to the chemical in the product, and the functionality of the chemical in the formulation, as well as the unintended consequences of removal of a chemical from a product. For example, formaldehyde in consumer products like nail polish, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo and cosmetics such as lipstick and mascara, acts to prevent growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens.
We understand that consumers have questions about the possible effects of chemicals on our bodies, and ACC member companies take these concerns seriously. Through the new Responsible Care® Product Safety Code, ACC members adhere to a strict set of practices aimed at continuously improving product safety and safe management of chemicals. A key component of the Product Safety Code is making information about their chemistries available to the public, especially information about how chemicals may affect children.
Promoting the safe use of chemicals is a shared responsibility among manufacturers, the government and those who sell and use chemical products, and ACC members have made a strong commitment to enhance supply chain collaboration around product safety and are working with downstream users, retailers, brand owners and government regulators to support the safe manufacture and use of consumer products.
Today, any chemistry introduced in the United States must undergo rigorous review and approval processes by federal agencies including EPA and FDA. These agencies routinely use their oversight authority to regulate particular uses of chemicals to ensure they are used in ways that do not pose significant risks to public health or the environment.
Chemistry has been and continues to be the engine behind the innovations that companies like WalMart are seeking. ACC looks forward to continuing to work with WalMart, other retailers and all of our partners in the value chain to share information, address product risks and hazards in a scientific way, and contribute to products that enhance our lives.