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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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