Target to Systematically Reduce Use of Toxic PVC in Infant Products, Children's Toys, Shower Curtains, Packaging

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 General News
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NEW YORK, Nov. 6 After a campaign by the Center forHealth, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and a coalition of health andenvironmental organizations, Target has agreed to systematically reduce itsuse of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as vinyl. The companyis reducing PVC found in many of its products including infant products,children's toys, shower curtains, packaging and fashion accessories. PVCproducts commonly contain toxic additives such as lead and phthalates and areoften made in China.

Target, the fifth largest U.S. retailer with $59 billion in annualrevenue, is joining a growing list of dozens of companies including Wal-Mart,Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, and Apple that are eliminating or reducingits PVC products and packaging. Wal-Mart just reached its two-year deadline toeliminate PVC from the packaging of its private brand products.

Previous testing has detected lead in a broad range of PVC consumerproducts including toys, lunchboxes, baby bibs, jewelry, garden hoses, miniblinds, Christmas trees, and electronics. Wal-Mart recalled PVC baby bibs andlunchboxes containing lead, and Toys R Us recalled PVC baby bibs containinglead.

Over ninety percent of phthalates, reproductive toxicants, are usedmanufacturing PVC products and are commonly found in children's vinyl toys.Last month California joined the European Union in banning phthalates inchildren's and infant's products. A similar ban has been introduced inCongress and in six other states.

Target will reduce PVC beginning with their owned brands. They will alsowork with other vendors and suppliers whose products are sold at Target.Target is taking the following steps in their owned brands:

"Since millions of toxic toys were recalled, parents are now looking forsafer products for their children. Companies should ensure that customers arenot rolling the dice with their families' health in the check out aisle.Target is doing the right thing by moving away from PVC and switching to saferalternatives," said Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health,Environment and Justice.

CHEJ and partner organizations held over 230 events at Target storesacross the country. CHEJ's online video "Sam Suds" was seen over 50,000 timesin the first month it was released. In 2006, 16 institutional investors wroteTarget urging them to eliminate PVC. At Target's 2007 annual shareholdermeeting, CHEJ addressed the CEO and ran an advertisement in USA TODAY. Targethas been contacted by over 40,000 concerned individuals about PVC.

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice is a national nonprofitorganization that was founded by Lois Gibbs in 1981 who won the nation's firstcommunity relocation of 900 families due to a leaking toxic waste dump in LoveCanal, New York. Eliminating PVC from a number of infant products and toys. Target children's eating utensils and lunchboxes are now PVC-free. Target baby bibs will be PVC-free by January 2008. Target is phasing out phthalates in most of their toys by Fall 2008 and eliminating phthalates in baby changing tables by January 2008. -- Replacing many PVC/Vinyl shower curtains with ethylene vinyl acetate plastic. Target expects 88% of its shower curtains to be PVC free by spring. -- Target will be 96% PVC-free in their placemat and table linen categories by Spring 2008. -- Target soft-sided coolers are now PVC-free. -- Reducing PVC in packaging. Target is reducing PVC packaging in the company's Target brand dinnerware, travel accessories, toys and sporting goods. For food packaging, Target has a requirement in place to avoid the use of PVC when possible. In the electronics category, Target is replacing the PVC clamshell with a modified pape

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