Walmart Flexes Its Green Muscle. Beats the EPA to the Punch and Bans Controversial Flame Retardant PBDE from All Their Consumer Goods

I am in such a good mood today.  My morning reading has brought me to a great green place of peace.  Folks, we are making a difference. With each email you send to a politician demanding safer chemical laws, with every green petition that you sign, for every Eco-conversation you have with a friend and every time you make an environmentally friendly purchase, you are  helping to create a greener world.  Your demand for safer products, for your family and our planet, is being heard by politicians and retailers alike.

Although the EPA has been working with retailers on a voluntary phase out of two  harmful types of PBDE's (the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and will phase out another by 2013, Walmart is flexing it's considerably large green muscles and has already phased them out.  In fact, they have sent a message to their suppliers warning that they will begin testing for PBDE's June 1, 2011.  PBDE's (found in so many common household items like electronics, furniture, sporting goods, pet supplies, curtains, toys and is now appearing in our food supply) have been linked to infertility, problems with the liver, thyroid disease and brain development problems in laboratory animals.  

“They’ve been at this for a while, trying to keep up with the green movement,” said Jody Manley, a spokesman for the American Council on Science and Health. 
Walmart has the power to help us all become tree-huggers and they can do it without gov't regulation
Although chemical lobbyists say Walmart is bowing to environmental activists, I say that is a bunch of crap.  Walmart is engaged with, listening to and bowing to the pressure of consumers.  Your consumer demand and increasing knowledge, due in part to the ease of access and dissemination of information through the Internet, has given rise to the social media driven, consumer environmental activist.  The power has shifted and companies are now at the mercy of every blog, Tweet and Facebook share that might affect their bottom line. 

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency cited PBDEs as "chemicals of concern" and said it intended to try to limit any new use of them. But that proposal has been stuck in bureaucratic review.  In perhaps the boldest example yet of retail regulation, Walmart is stepping ahead of federal regulators and using its muscle as the world's largest retailer to move away from a class of chemicals that harm both human health and our environmental health.

"This really shows the market being able to move more decisively than the government," said Andy Igrejas, national campaign director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, a coalition of environmental and public health groups pushing for tougher federal chemical laws.

Way to go Walmart...we will be waiting to see what great, green thing you accomplish next.  Muah!

P.S.- I am really glad that you stopped by our Environmental Booty Blog and I hope you have learned or shared a thing or two. I hope that , now that you've found us, you won't lose us! You can join our green living online community, subscribe to our posts, download our community toolbar or Tweet with me on Twitter to stay in touch! - Shane :)

Sources: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, NY Times, Walmart, The Washington Post
Images:, Fast Company

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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead