From Green Right Now Reports

Mind the StoreDo you know what’s in your body lotion? If you read the label carefully, it’s likely you couldn’t pronounce or explain many ingredients, and some of those mystery chemicals may be, well, iffy.

But a coalition composed of hundreds of health and environmental groups, known as Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, has stepped forward to help get the toxics out of everything from your shampoo to your couch cushions. Its campaign, launched today, attempts a big end run around the lack of chemical regulation in the U.S..

The new program enlists major retailers to help purge toxic chemicals from the consumer products they sell; and asks consumers to play along, nudging and cheering the retailers into action.

Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Home Depot and Best Buy are participating in the “Mind the Store” program, by promising to identify hazardous chemicals in the products on their shelves and develop plans to remove chemicals of concern.

The chemicals targeted include formaldehyde, ethyl and methyl paraben, Bisphenol A, vinyl chloride, styrene, a variety of phthalates, solvents, preservatives and metals that the group has identified as among the most hazardous. These hazardous substances turn up in household items, furniture, cosmetics and body products because the U.S. provides little oversight of toxic ingredients in the realm of non-food household goods.

Unlike pesticides and pharmaceuticals, there’s no regulatory system for thoroughly checking out all these chemicals before they are added to common products, the coalition noted in an announcement of the program.

“The federal government isn’t ‘Minding the Store’ when it comes to chemicals so retailers have to. They can protect their customers and move the marketplace toward safer products at the same time.” said Andy Igrejas, Director of the coalition Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

The coalition has created a list, “The Hazardous 100+ (pdf),”  that is intended as the guidepost for the participating retailers.

Many of these chemicals have been implicated in cancer, infertility, respiratory ailments, cognitive impairments and even diabetes. Several are considered endocrine disruptors that can impair child and fetal development.

Mind the Store aims to take the issue directly to the public, because efforts to pass legislation to control the proliferation of chemicals has so far been blocked by the chemistry lobby, Igrejas said.

“We’re confident that consumers can enlist their favorite retailers in confronting this problem,” said Igrejas. “The links between many common chemicals and the chronic diseases that burden so millions of families give this issue a great moral urgency that motivates people from all walks of life.”