Poisonous Plastics

Target Commits to Clean up Shelves

Last year, Target, the fifth-largest U.S. retailer, fired the starting gun on meeting its commitment to eliminate toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC), commonly known as vinyl, from many of the products it sells by the end of 2008. The company is working with suppliers to systematically reduce its use of PVC in infant products, children’s toys, shower curtains and packaging, beginning with its own brands.

“Study after study has found that chemicals in vinyl can cause health problems in children and adults,” says Dr. Peter Orris, director of the Occupational Health Services Institute at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “While using PVC products, people may be exposed to toxic additives like phthalates and lead, and when incinerated, PVC is a major contributor to [environmental] dioxin.”

Target joined the growing list of companies convinced to clean up their act by a coalition of organizations led by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Earlier converts yielding to similar activist pressure include Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Nike, Apple and Johnson & Johnson.

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