Monday, March 17, 2014

Contact: Bobbi Chase Wilding


Buy Buy Baby Asks Vendors to Remove Toxics from Products

Retailer Pushes for Suppliers to Boost Child Safety
Health Advocates Applaud
New “Restricted Substances List” Asks Manufacturers to Seek Safer Alternatives

 (Albany, NY) Getting ReadyforBaby, a coalition of children’s health, public safety, and environmental organizations, applauded the move by Buy Buy Baby and its publicly-traded parent company, Bed Bath & Beyond, to move its suppliers to transition away from toxic chemicals linked to a wide range of health problems. Bed Bath & Beyond has developed a new “Restricted Substances List” (RSL) of chemicals of potential concern for human health and the environment. The list lays out chemicals recommended for reduction or elimination in consumer products, and chemicals that should not be intentionally introduced into the manufacturing process. A number of chemical limits on the Restricted Substances List exceed regulatory requirements.


The preamble to the RSL also states: “The Restricted Substances List (“RSL”) (download here) includes substances that may not be the subject of current legislation but are of potential concern to human health and the environment. Vendors are expected to review the RSL regularly as it will be updated periodically. BBB recommends that vendors exercise efforts to reduce or eliminate these substances of potential concern in their products. Be reminded that Vendors should avoid substituting substances on the RSL for another substance of equal or greater concern.” (Emphasis added.)


The Getting Ready for Baby campaign congratulates Bed Bath & Beyond for taking this important step in a comprehensive chemicals management plan, and for specifically highlighting the need for identifying safer alternatives to avoid simply replacing one chemical of concern with another. The campaign is calling on BBB vendors to act on the retailers’ recommendations, and have put a number of resources on the campaign’s website, to assist companies in achieving compliance.


Bobbi Chase Wilding, Deputy Director of Clean and Healthy New York and coordinator of the multi-group Getting Ready for Baby Campaign said, “There are three things that we find especially encouraging about the new Restricted Substances List (RSL). First, it covers all products, including articles like clothes and furniture as well as formulated products like shampoo and cleaners. This scope is broader than many actions other leading retailers are taking. Second, it identifies chemicals to avoid in the manufacturing process, not just intentionally added to products. This will protect workers, and prevent product contamination if implemented properly. Third, it urges vendors to replace chemicals on this list with safer substitutes. We encourage Buy Buy Baby to set up a transparent reporting system to monitor compliance with the RSL and establish a further goal of requiring disclosure from suppliers about what products may contain any of these restricted chemicals.”


“We now call on Babies “R” Us to step up to the plate and take steps that will eliminate dangerous chemicals in products sold in their stores,” added Wilding. “Responsible retailers are taking action – yet we have had no response or commitment from Babies “R” Us.”


New York State Senator Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), sponsor of the Child-Safe Products Act, said, "This latest announcement shows that retailers are poised to increase their bottom line by responding appropriately to consumer demand for safe, healthy products. We know that product makers are capable of disclosing their chemical use and, in many instances, removing the toxics from their products. What New York needs now is a law to even the playing field and ensure that all children are equally protected, regardless of where their parents shop. My legislation will do just that.”


Barry Cik, Founder of Naturepedic, said, “Naturepedic was founded to provide parents with mattresses made with only the safest materials. Buy Buy Baby has always impressed me with their sincere focus on baby safety, and they have welcomed the Naturepedic approach of eliminating toxic, allergenic and other questionable ingredients in their baby products. As a vendor to Buy Buy Baby, I applaud their development of their new Restricted Substances List. The chemicals on this list can cause a host of health problems, and babies and children are uniquely vulnerable. It is an important call to action for baby product makers to evaluate their product lines and seek safer solutions where needed.”


Cindy Luppi, Clean Water Action New England Director, said, “We welcome this important step from Buy Buy Baby and urge full implementation. The emphasis on replacing toxic chemicals with safer alternatives in our everyday products is the kind of common sense leadership we desperately need in Congress as they consider legislation to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act.”


Gigi Lee Chang, CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, said, “How could Healthy Child Healthy World not be excited about Buy Buy Baby issuing a restricted substances list that goes beyond existing regulatory requirements? We hope their vendors clue in and treat their recommendations as law. We're especially loving BBB’s call out that replacing a bad chemical with a worse one isn’t a good idea. The writing is really on the wall. Our kids need all of the help they can get. We believe this important first move will continue to put kids’ health first--where it belongs--and that BBB will be rewarded by grateful parents at the cash register as implementation starts showing results.”


Bev Thorpe, Consulting Co-Director of Clean Production Action said, “It’s great to see Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath & Beyond join the growing list of retail leaders taking action on chemicals of concern. New tools and resources are now available to help all retailers and brands substitute hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives and we look forward in the weeks ahead to learning more about how they will measure progress towards their goal.”


Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, said, “This action by Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby sends a strong message to their suppliers and vendors that toxic chemicals have no place in consumer and baby products. Retailers have both the power and moral responsibility to ensure that their products are safe, not toxic. We challenge other leading retailers to join them in getting tough on toxic chemicals in their supply chains.”


Bed Bath and Beyond’s actions come following similar announcements by Walmart and Target, who have recently developed broad lists of chemicals of concern and compliance measures with their vendors, encouraging suppliers to publicly disclose chemicals of concern in their products. The Getting Ready for Baby Campaign is a collaboration of nearly 70 organizations within the Coming Clean Workgroup for Safe Markets calling for baby product retailers Buy Buy Baby and Babies ”R”Us to craft and implement policies that remove toxic chemicals from the products they sell.