So, who is “minding the store” these days? For many of us, we have come to the realization that few people or organizations are actually minding our “collective store” – whether it’s our political systems, our industries, our health care system, our social and environmental justice policies and programs – too many decisions are being made strictly for reasons of profit and short-term gain.
So, we are thrilled to share with you that once again, we are joining the Safer Chemical’s Health Families “Mind the Store” Campaign and Week of Action, this week targeted at Albertsons. As background, in 2015, Safeway, the second largest grocery company in the country, merged with Albertsons and now the combined company operates under the name Albertsons. The company has 2,230 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 19 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 employees across 34 states and the District of Columbia.
When the Mind The Store campaign began in 2013, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families requested that Safeway develop a comprehensive plan to address the Hazardous 100+ chemicals in the products it sells. Four years later, the company (now Albertsons) has yet to take meaningful action for a comprehensive chemical policy and has received an “F” grade, the third lowest grade of any retailer evaluated. Albertsons has no public safer chemicals policy in place. While the company has reported some progress in reducing the use of BPA in canned foods, it has not disclosed a timeframe or plan for completely eliminating and safely substituting BPA in canned foods.
This week’s Campaign is demanding that Albertsons, and its subsidiaries assume it’s rightful place as an industry leader, and stop selling products containing or packaged with toxic chemicals such as lead, formaldehyde, parabens, and BPA. The campaign is calling on the supermarket giant to announce a safer chemicals policy to reduce and eliminate toxic chemicals, as Walmart, Target and other retailers have done.
The campaign is supported by new research revealing toxic chemicals in two dozen products sold by Albertsons, including lead in the handles of summer barbeque basting and cleaning brushes, formaldehyde releasers, parabens, fragrance and other toxic chemicals in personal care and cleaning products.
“This summer, it’s time for Albertsons to turn up the heat on toxic chemicals,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “As one of the nation’s largest retailers, Albertsons should wield its market power to drive dangerous chemicals out of products. If retailers like Walmart and Target can do it, so can Albertsons.”
You may be wondering, what do “safer chemicals” have to do with climate change? A simple answer is that many of hazardous chemicals are derived from petrochemicals (fossil fuels). More complicated but equally relevant to me is the fact that my children and I seem to be part of a big “experiment” and at the mercy of companies that aren’t really sure “how harmful” their products are, but are willing to bargain with my health and that of my children while we all wait to find out. This same attitude and lack of adherence to the precautionary principal is ingrained in the production, distribution and transportation of fossil fuels and “big agriculture” products where the “experiment” not only involves my children’s health but that of our planet’s as well.
We need to work together to support campaigns, hopes, ideas and programs across a broad spectrum of issue areas and disciplines. Our common goals include a safe, healthy and hopeful future and now for our children. Together we can and will speak truth to power, and make sure that our children, their future and their now are front and center.
P.S. Please check out the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families Mind the Store Campaign page and consider getting involved at your neighborhood store. Drop off a letter, share flyers with your family and friends; together we can and will make our world a safer place for our children.