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Personal-care products are “largely unregulated” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, making retailers de facto regulators, the report says.
“Wal-Mart and Target have more sales per year than many small countries’ GDP. So they are very influential,” said GoodGuide’s O’Rourke. “If the advocacy community can motivate a big buyer like Target, that has a big influence on global supply chains, it can have a wide-ranging impact, more so than federal regulation.”
One group that has lobbied Target to adopt a safe cosmetics policy is the virtual organization MomsRising.org.
“Moms not only have tremendous power in the voting booth, but also in terms of consumer power,” said Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, executive director of the group, which has more than 1 million members. “Women make three-quarters of purchasing decisions.”
MomsRising circulated a petition last month urging Target to forbid toxic chemicals in the cosmetics it sells and to increase transparency on product labels. In an interview last week, Rowe-Finkbeiner applauded Target’s new sustainability standards and efforts at label transparency.
“We hear from moms all the time that they shouldn’t have to have a chemistry degree to buy personal care products. These products should be proven to be safe before they reach the shelves,” she said. “We’re tired of playing Whac-A-Mole with product recalls and constantly looking on the Internet to find the latest products that are unsafe.
“Manufacturers, retailers and legislators need to step up,” she said.
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752