You may have seen the big news: hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates found in macaroni and cheese and other cheese products. The story was huge in print, TV, and on social media. Macaroni and cheese or any food shouldn’t be contaminated with industrial chemicals that can mess with hormones.

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Mac n’ cheese is a simple dish, inexpensive, and most importantly, a kid-pleaser. It’s saved me many a lunch, and the occasional dinner, when my husband and I are too busy or exhausted to fix an elaborate meal for the family.  But now I’ve learned that the powdered cheese can contain industrial toxic chemicals called phthalates that experts say could be harmful to young kids and developing fetuses. Knowing this, I’m rethinking my dinner choices until food companies clean up their act.

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Costco members got some welcome news this month about its “Smart Screening” program to address toxic chemicals in some of the products the company sells. According to new updates to Costco’s website, the company is now testing products such as clothing, furniture, personal care products, cleaning products, and others for certain toxic chemicals of “regulatory and social concern,” and keeping products containing other harmful chemicals off its shelves entirely.

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“Oh no, not Costco!” That’s what tens of thousands of consumers are saying about the company’s failure to announce a public policy to reduce toxic chemicals in products sold in their stores. As a result, it’s time for us to take this campaign to the next level to convince Costco to “mind the store” and announce a safe chemicals policy, and we need Costco members to help! Continue reading 

A new report out today rates some of the biggest retailers on their efforts to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in products sold in their stores. Two Washington state-based companies, Amazon and Costco, received the lowest grades (“Fs”) nationwide for their efforts. In comparison, Target and Wal-Mart received “Bs”. Continue reading 

Does anyone out there watch Modern Family? There’s an episode when the characters Cam & Mitch go to Costco. Cam is all about Costco, while Mitch thinks it’s a ridiculous proposition – who could possibly need or use all that stuff? By the end, Mitch wants to buy a shed (sold at Costco) to hold the boxes and boxes of diapers and other stuff they absolutely must have. Watch the clip.

That episode pretty much sums up how I went from Costco disdainer to Costco lover. Continue reading 

Over the last year, as more and more shoppers demand products without toxic flame retardants, several furniture manufacturers and retailers have announced they are no longer using toxic flame retardants in their products. While this is a good thing, we wanted to find out how the rest of the market was doing. We dispatched our secret shoppers to neighborhood retailers to investigate. Continue reading 

When parents go shopping, they expect products in stores to be safe for their kids. They certainly don’t expect kids’ dishes to contain cancer-causing formaldehyde, a chemical that is identified as a cause of leukemia and nose and throat cancer, and is linked to asthma and allergies. But that’s exactly what Fred Meyer says it’s dishing up in its children’s dish ware. Continue reading 

Last week Lego announced that it will begin searching for a more sustainable material to replace the plastic in its iconic toy blocks. It’s not only great news for consumers, but could also be an example of how state disclosure laws and consumer demand are helping make the marketplace a little less toxic. Continue reading