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.
But it’s not just formaldehyde in dishes. According to the company’s own reports, when you shop at Fred Meyer you can pick up baby clothing with antimony, toys with phthalates, and personal care products with parabens.
We know this because twice a year manufacturers of children’s products, like Fred Meyer, are required to report to the Department of Ecology if their products contain any of 66 chemicals classified as a high concern for children’s health.
From January 2015 through October 2015, Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger, Inc.) filed 125 reports of chemicals of concern in children’s products—in everything from clothes to toys to tableware. Since reporting began in June 2012, Fred Meyer/Kroger reported over 280 instances of chemicals of a concern to kids in their products.
Chemicals reported include those linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive and developmental problems. We’ve also found kids’ furniture in Fred Meyer stores labeled as containing toxic flame retardants.
Clearly, Fred Meyer could do better.
This is why we’re calling on Fred Meyer and its parent company Kroger to Mind the Store and adopt a company policy to phase out toxic flame retardants, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals from their products.
It’s not too much to expect a retailer to ensure the safety of the products they sell and give parents peace of mind. Many retail chains, including Target, Walmart, and Macy’s, have taken steps to improve the health and safety of their products. Fred Meyer can do the same by adopting a policy phasing out toxic chemicals from its products.
Also, you might remember that Fred Meyer’s trade associations, the NW Grocery Association and the Association of Washington Business, have been actively involved in opposing the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, the bill to ban toxic flame retardants in home furniture and kids’ products.
Their opposition was one of the reasons the bill did not pass in the 2015 Legislative Session. These kinds of laws give consumers confidence that products in stores are healthy. Fred Meyer should support proposals like the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, not oppose it.