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Alaska toxins group issues warning to holiday shoppers

Alaska Dispatch

With Christmas right the corner and holiday shopping on everyone's mind, a local environmental health group wants consumers to be aware of toxins in personal-care products.

Alaska Community Action on Toxins is bringing awareness to holiday shoppers by highlighting the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report “Retailer Therapy: Ranking retailers on their commitment to cosmetics safety, putting a spotlight on Walmart, Target, Macy’s, CVS, Walgreens, Costco, Kroger and Whole Foods Market.”

The report looks at major retailers across the country and grades them based on steps they take to screen toxic chemicals from products they sell.

The best and worst offenders on the list aren't even available in Alaska. The report awarded Whole Foods nine “kisses” for its safety screening and “high transparency” in communicating its goals, criteria and progress in alerting customers to toxins. The worst offended on the list is Macy's, which received only one “kiss due to not having any sort of screening process for toxins in personal care products.

All of the retailers with stores in Alaska fell somewhere in the middle, according to Samantha Englishoe, an environmental health and justice coordinator for Alaska Community Action on Toxins. Those included Walgreens and Target (four kisses), and Walmart, Kroger (Fred Meyer) and Costco (three kisses).

Englishoe said those businesses could improve the safety of their products.

The local toxins group contributed to the report by screening several Alaska stores looking for chemicals like formaldehyde in nail polish, dark hair dye that contains coal tar ingredients and other chemicals that are known to have negative health affects.

Read more about the report here.