Walgreens customers raise concerns about toxic chemicals

Posted on April 17, 2014 Bookmark and Share

By Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director

It feels good to be apart of something big. And that is exactly what happened yesterday as people like you and I visited Walgreens stores asking them to get serious about toxic chemicals. Yesterday in partnership with our members, we organized nearly 50 events all across the country. 

Atlanta GA WalgreensAs you may remember, Walgreens has become one of the “laggards” in our Mind the Store campaign. A year ago we asked the nation’s ten largest retailers to create and action plan on the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals. We’ve sent them letter from public health groups, over 60,000 grassroots emails, called and emailed them directly. 

Some of the retailers have taken first steps to reduce and eliminate hazardous chemicals including Target and Walmart. Some are working with us on crafting a plan of action on the Hazardous 100+. And a few other retailers, like Walgreens, have felt they don’t need to respond.

In response we organized friendly events all across the country to let the nation’s largest drugstore that we want their leadership on toxic chemicals!

Highlights from our Walgreens Day of Action:

  • 49 events took place in cities all across the country.
  • Participants returned products that were recently tested by Healthy Stuff to have toxic chemicals.
  • The meetings with store managers were friendly and they were receptive to our message.
  • The participants asked the store managers to report their meeting to the corporate sustainability team in the hopes that they’ll sit down and talk with us about how to eliminate and reduce the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals.
  • Actor and producer Jennifer Beals tweeted about the day, activating thousands to take action - Thank You!
  • Our friends at Moms Rising delivered over 8,000 signatures to the corporate headquarters asking Walgreens to Mind the Store for safer chemicals.
  • Events varied in size, some were led by bloggers and others by large groups of concerned citizens.
  • Thousands of people signed our petition to Walgreens (you can too!).

You can see some of the photos here:

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Health Advocates Descend On Walgreens Stores Nationwide

Posted on April 16, 2014 Bookmark and Share

By Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director

Girl from WalgreensToday concerned parents and health advocates coast to coast are gathering outside nearly 50 Walgreens stores to call on the retailer to eliminate unnecessary dangerous chemicals from their store shelves.

Walgreens is the largest drugstore chain in the country, and despite being a company dedicated to health and wellness, unfortunately it continues to sell products containing chemicals linked to cancer, asthma and other serious health problems.  Walgreens has a moral responsibility to sell products that are safe.  

A new study we’re releasing today shows that some products Walgreens sells, such as hand bags, school supplies, pet chew toys, and shower curtains, contain harmful chemicals.  Today leaders around the country are taking these products back and returning them in Mind the Store bags, urging Walgreens to eliminate harmful chemicals in their products.   They’ll also be delivering these postcards to and speaking with their store manager about why this issue matters to them.

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30% increase in Autism rates brings greater urgency to toxic chemical reform

Posted on April 9, 2014 Bookmark and Share

By Annie Acosta, Director of Fiscal and Family Support Policy -- The Arc (The Nation's largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.)

Muriel is in her late 50’s. She has intellectual disability, struggles to express herself, and has trouble controlling impulses. Muriel is like many of the thousands of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that The Arc’s 700 chapters serve every day.

Not all persons with ASD will need our services like Muriel, but even for individuals with less significant impairments and their families, ASD can bring lifelong challenges. And they are challenges that a growing number of Americans are facing. Autism increase

(Photo Credit: CDC)

Released on March 27th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced their new ASD prevalence figures and they are alarming. An estimated 1 in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder.[1] The likelihood that a child will be diagnosed with the disorder has increased 30% in the last two years. This increase follows a consistent (if somewhat accelerated) upward trend in autism diagnosis over the last decade. According to the CDC, the number of persons diagnosed with autism increased 123% between 2002 and 2010.

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Careful shopper or not, your body may still be polluted with toxic chemicals

Posted on April 4, 2014 Bookmark and Share

by Paige Holmes, mother of two from Lisbon, Maine

Paige Holmes with sons1I’m a label reader.  Every trip to the store involves a careful assessment of what’s coming into my home and into the hands (and mouths) of my two young sons.  I am probably more aware of chemical safety than the average consumer, as I have spent the last several years and transitioning away from goods that are likely to contain harmful chemicals to safer alternatives.  I use glass instead of plastic food containers.  I’ve swapped out the vinyl shower curtain for cloth.  And I am thrilled every time I can see clear evidence that I’m avoiding the dangerous chemicals known to me, like the now common “BPA Free” labels on reusable water bottles. 

I also know enough about our country’s broken chemical safety system to recognize that the information on labels is often incomplete - obscuring harmful chemicals in everyday products. And yet, I still wasn’t prepared for what I learned this week about the levels of phthalates in my body. 

I was one of 25 Mainers who volunteered to be part of a bio-monitoring study of phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals that are widely used in consumer products.  We each provided urine samples which were tested for the presence of seven different phthalates.  This week the results were released by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine in a report titled, “Hormones Disrupted: Toxic Phthalates in Maine People”.

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5 Tips for Keeping Your New Baby Healthy at School! (Or Daycare)

Posted on April 2, 2014 Bookmark and Share

By Jennifer Hankey, President and CEO, Organic Baby University, Whole Pregnancy & Healthy Green Schools

My work pic2(1)When you have a baby on the way, thinking about school or daycare can seem like a long time away! But it will be here before you know it, so it’s never to soon to start shopping around for healthier environments for your new baby.  Most moms have no idea that of the 80,000 chemicals in our products today that only 200 have ever been tested for safety by anyone! Many of the chemicals that are being testing are being linked to asthma, allergies, premature puberty and cancer in children…conditions that we are seeing rising quickly in children today.

Here’s what to look for or how to create a healthier, safer environment!


In a recent study by the Environmental Working Group, he average school air contains 38 contaminants. Many are linked to asthma, allergies, even hormone-disruption.  Looking for a school that cleans with Certified Green Cleaners can reduce these toxic chemicals by to 1/6 of the amount or more. If your school or nursery doesn’t already use green cleaners, meet with the director and speak to them about switching or consider being a certified Healthy Green School.

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