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I’ll keep my wrinkles, thanks

It’s no secret that most people don’t like ironing. It takes time, you have to schlep the ironing board across the house, and the minute you put on your pressed shirt, it seems to magically wrinkle again.

But ironing is a small hassle if the trade-off means wearing a shirt that was treated with formaldehyde to make it “wrinkle-free.” I’ll keep my wrinkles, thanks.

Today the final ad in our Times Square series went live, and like the others, its aim is to raise awareness about toxic chemicals in our consumer products and our newest campaign Mind the Store.

Cancer-causing formaldehyde was first discovered in clothing when the non-partisan Government Accountability Office found that formaldehyde was used to treat wrinkle-free dress shirts, sheets and other bedding materials.

It’s also well established that formaldehyde, a human carcinogen, is used in a variety of household products including clothes, textiles, building materials, pressed-wood products, hair salons and more. In addition, many formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are added to lotions, shampoos and the like.

The issue clearly isn’t as cut and dry as some would have you believe. [pullquote]How is a consumer supposed to navigate a marketplace laden with toxic chemicals, most of which are unlabeled? [/pullquote] We need retailers to step up and help make a shift away from these unnecessary uses of harmful chemicals, period.

For most people, our encounters with toxic chemicals come in a variety of experiences. Some of our members work in factories that use or produce chemicals (ie people who work in the factories that make these wrinkle-free shirts, or formaldehyde itself), some live in communities that are highly affected by toxic chemicals in the soil, air and water. Others are new parents trying to find the safest products they can for their new baby.

But one thing that unites most of us is the experience of shopping at a major retailer for household products. Can you imagine if one or all ten of these retailers started to take serious action on toxic chemicals?

That’s why we launched Mind the Store, because currently no one is. We are asking the nation’s top ten retailers to create a robust action plan on the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. So when you go to the store, you don’t need to worry about buying clothes, bed sheets, pressed wood or other products treated with cancer-causing formaldehyde.

It’s really quite simple. Retailers are disadvantaged by our broken federal laws, and the also have a huge responsibility to help move the market away from toxic chemicals.

It shouldn’t be that only the informed, educated, or wealthy have access to safe products. And I’m sure manufacturers can produce wrinkle-free clothing without endangering their workers to toxic formaldehyde.

As the status quo regularly goes, most folks won’t do something until they are asked. We’re asking retailers, now who will respond?

Until I know there are stronger laws on toxic chemicals, or retailers have taken a leadership role to phase out formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals, I’ll keep my wrinkles.

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