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Consumer group ranks retailers

WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh
December 11th, 2012

PITTSBURGH —A consumer group says many everyday products contain harmful chemicals that can cause cancer, infertility or birth defects, and the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have the authority to regulate them.  Consumer investigator Robin Taylor learned safety advocates want retailers to be the gatekeepers.

A new report, conducted in Pittsburgh and in other big cities across the nation, takes a look what stores are doing to keep harmful chemicals off store shelves.

I was shown baby wipes, lotions and hair dyes that were purchased locally.  They contain chemicals with long unpronounceable names that are known to be harmful.  The personal care products were found alongside similar products with much safer ingredients. 

The Campaign for Safer Cosmetics ranked retailers for how well they're screening potentially harmful products.

Whole Foods came out on top, with Macy's at the bottom.  CVS came in second, followed by Walgreens and Target.  Walmart and Costco have just started to screen.

"Whole Foods came to the top of the list and they were certainly ranked the highest in terms of the retail report because they have a policy in place where they screen out a little over 400 chemicals of concern in the products that are on their shelf," said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, the executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment.

Naccarati-Chapkis says you don't have to shop at Whole Foods to find safe products. Just look at the label. The fewer the ingredients and the easier they are to pronounce, the better off you are.

Click here for the complete Retailer Therapy report.