– Health and Environment Advocates Gather Petitions Online and In Stores this Week –
Washington, DC – Health advocates and Walgreens customers are joining together this week in calling on the nation’s largest pharmacy chain to sell safer products. Today, they are launching a “Week of Action” to press Walgreens to respond to a campaign that asks the retailer to stop selling products ranging from cleaners, cosmetics, pet toys and household items that contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other illness. The events are organized by the “Mind the Store” campaign, which to date has gathered 150,000 petitions nationally calling on Walgreens to adopt a safe chemicals policy.
The concerned customers will use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and make calls and distribute flyers and hold signs outside stores in an effort to encourage Walgreens to be a more responsible retailer. This week’s actions come on the heels of a nationwide day of action held in April.
In recent months, several major national retailers including Walmart, Target, and Bed, Bath and Beyond have announced significant new initiatives to limit the use of toxic chemicals that are on the Mind the Store’s “Hazardous 100+” list. The “Mind the Store” campaign, launched by numerous public health groups, says Walgreens is considered a laggard.
This past spring, the Ecology Center tested dozens of products Walgreens sells, ranging from household cleaners, school supplies, pet toys and other categories. Many were found to have one or more toxic chemicals. These chemicals include PVC, phthalates, organotins and heavy metals that have been linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity, and cancer.
In contrast to American based stores, Walgreens is in the midst of completing a merger with UK pharmacy chain Alliance Boots. Boots has a sustainable chemicals policy that is considered a model in retailing, and as a result, its customers benefit from safer products. Walgreens has acknowledged it is studying the Boots model for product sustainability, but has no made no commitment to apply it to the benefit of U.S. customers.
“Walgreens customers in the U.S. deserve the same safe products the company sells to its British customers,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “As the nation’s largest pharmacy chain dedicated to health and wellness, Walgreens has a responsibility to sell products that don’t contain harmful chemicals.”
For more information, pictures and multimedia on the Walgreens Week of Action, visit www.saferchemicals.org