Target To Systematically Reduce Use Of Toxic PVC In Infant Products

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Toxic PVC In Infant Products

After a campaign by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and a coalition of health and environmental organizations, Target has agreed to systematically reduce its use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, commonly known as vinyl. The company is reducing PVC found in many of its products including infant products, children's toys, shower curtains, packaging and fashion accessories. PVC products commonly contain toxic additives such as lead and phthalates and are often made in China.

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

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

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

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

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-- 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 paperboard/plastic packaging. The company is asking their vendors to reduce the amount of packaging on their products and use materials that

are easily recyclable.

-- Target has engaged their merchandiser buyers through a new Sustainable Products Guide, which includes a section on PVC.

"Since millions of toxic toys were recalled, parents are now looking for safer products for their children. Companies should ensure that customers are not 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 safer alternatives," said Lois Gibbs, Executive Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.

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