Walmart partnership leads to safer products

A market-driven solution helps fill gap left by weak toxic chemical laws

Because of its size, Walmart's efforts to become more sustainable can lead to enormous environmental and health gains.


It’s the largest and most ambitious effort to phase out hazardous chemicals from common household goods.

Our collaboration with Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, has helped the company launch a sustainable chemicals policy that targets about ten chemicals of concern in consumer products for replacement with safer ingredients.

This change chiefly affects non-food “consumables,” products like baby shampoos, lotions and air fresheners.

The policy also expands ingredient disclosure to the public, and leads by example—committing Walmart to align their own cleaning products with the EPA’s Design for the Environment Safer Product Labeling program.

  • 1 out of 5home and personal care consumable products will be impacted.
  • 100,000+ products are tracked using a screening tool we helped create.

More on our screening tool.

Big-name suppliers

Suppliers like Colgate-Palmolive and Procter & Gamble are already responding by reformulating products that contain known chemicals of concern.

This is the starting point for Walmart and for the wider retail supply chain: We’re planning to expand chemical policies for more products and suppliers.

“Product changes at Walmart ripple out to other retailers, meaning safer and affordable products will be available not only for the 80% of Americans who shop at Walmart, but for all of us,” says Sarah Vogel, EDF’s Health Program Director.  

Not waiting for policy

Americans are exposed to an untold number of chemicals every day, and few have been adequately tested for safety. This is due in part to serious flaws in the U.S.’s primary chemical safety law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which hasn’t been updated since 1976.

We’ve been working to strengthen TSCA to protect health, and provide the information necessary to build a sustainable chemicals economy.

Leadership by companies like Walmart provides near-term market solutions that move hazardous chemicals off the shelf and generate demand for safer ingredients.

As Walmart tackles sustainable chemical changes, EDF will be tracking the progress and helping ensure the company achieves its commitments, says Michelle Mauthe Harvey, EDF’s Corporate Partnerships Supply Chain Director, in Bentonville, Ark.

Partnerships increase our scale

This is just one of the ways we’ve urged companies to see things in new ways and develop solutions that benefit both business and the environment, resulting in scalable, sustainable impacts across industries and supply chains.

Ensuring ingredient safety is fundamental to sustainable business practices.

Michelle Mauthe Harvey Michelle Mauthe Harvey Supply Chain Director, Corporate Partnerships

The challenge

  • Hazardous chemicals are common in household products, and government regulation is flawed.

The solution

  • We’ve partnered with a major retailer to identify and reduce chemicals of concern in their products.

The results

  • Dozens of Walmart’s suppliers will be asked to reduce, restrict and eliminate a prioritized list of chemicals from certain household products.