While major U.S. retailers have taken steps to phase hazardous chemicals and plastics out of their products in recent years, many still have not committed to the steps that environmental justice advocates say are necessary to protect consumers — and low-income shoppers in communities of color are most vulnerable of all.
Some discount stores in particular have failed to take basic actions to protect consumer health, according to a new report entitled “Who’s Minding the Store? A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals.” The findings, which have been disseminated annually for the past five years, were released last week. For the third year in a row, the California-based 99 Cents Only Stores received a failing grade, while other discount retailers such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General improved their below-average standing. While the discount sector was considered the “most improved” retail sector overall, many stores are still failing to move aggressively to protect consumers.
“In many of our communities, we are already overburdened by multiple exposures to toxics, be it the production of toxic chemicals, or the refining of fossil fuels tha... Read more