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Not So Minnesota Nice, Best Buy

By Deanna White, Co-Director, Healthy Legacy Coalition

Minnesotans are known for our courtesy and helpfulness, you know… “Minnesota nice”? It’s a mandatory part of living in a state where you regularly need your neighbor to help push your car out of a snow bank. This culture even extends itself to the vibrant business culture in the state. We’re home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Target, General Mills, and Best Buy.

Health Legacy, our coalition working to protect Minnesotans from toxic chemicals, is therefore surprised and disappointed that Best Buy hasn’t responded to the Mind the Store Campaign.

In an effort to help out our national partners at Mind the Store, our Minnesota-based Healthy Legacy Coalition sent a letter to Best Buy requesting leadership on this campaign and asking for a formal response. We thought surely they would reply to a coalition of 37 Minnesota organizations.

Unfortunately, they haven’t.

We even called and left messages. You would think someone at the headquarters would at least acknowledge that they received our message.  Maybe the past month of arctic cold gave them brain freeze?

We remain hopeful in Minnesota that Best Buy will be an early adopter and create a strong action plan on toxic chemicals. Best Buy showed tremendous leadership on the e-waste problem by creating a free electronics and appliance recycling program. They have even taken great steps to reduce PVC and other plastic from some of their house-brand products.

Every time I drop off an old computer or a broken smoke detector at my local Best Buy store, I know I am keeping hazardous heavy metals out of the environment.  This is a great program which thanks to Best Buy’s leadership, kept 871 million pounds of electronics out of the waste stream.

Despite Best Buy’s leadership on e-waste recycling much work needs to be done to address toxic chemicals before they end up in consumer products. That is why the Mind the Store campaign developed the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemical list, as a road map for retailers for eliminating hazardous chemicals from their supply chain.

Electronics can contain flame retardants and other hazardous chemicals which can leach out of products into our homes and bodies.  Biomonitoring has shown the majority of Americans have these chemicals in our bodies. Flame retardants have even been detected in breast milk, putting the health of even infants at risk.

The state of Minnesota has been a leader in protecting the health of our children from toxic chemicals. Our legislature passed groundbreaking policies that ban toxic BPA and formaldehyde from kid’s products and I remain hopeful our business community will reflect that leadership.

That is why thousands of people are asking Best Buy to Mind the Store – add your name today!

We continue to wait for a response from the company and hope to engage with them in a good faith dialogue about how best to address the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals in their supply chain.

After all, that would be the nice thing to do.

Don’t wait! Tell Best Buy to Mind The Store.