When it comes to demanding healthier products for themselves and their families, sometimes people really do have the power.


After consumers from across the nation became more aware of the toxic chemicals present in household and personal care products, and then voiced these concerns to major retailer Target, a victory emerged.

This month, Target will unveil a new 100-point standard for more than 7,500 cleaning, beauty, personal care and baby products available in its stores nationwide now. The standard will, according to Target’s plans, extend to cosmetics and other types of products next year.

The program, called the Target Sustainable Product Standard, will utilize GoodGuide’s UL Transparency Platform to start its evaluation process. Essentially, the manufacturers will disclose its ingredients and packaging elements, and then Target will “grade” each product. The less toxic chemicals the product has (there are more than 2,000 known carcinogens and toxins these companies should be avoiding!), the higher the score the product will receive.

Manufacturers can earn extra points if its products fully disclose all of a product’s ingredients and for other eco-friendly moves, from recyclable packaging to no animal testing.


In addition, those items that exceed a certain score will be able to receive marketing incentives from Target, which can drive more consumers to their products in the store.

This move is a large leap for a country with minimal standards for personal and household products.

“Currently, there is no widely accepted industry standard by which vendors and retailers can judge the environmental impact and sustainability of products,” said Dara O’Rourke, GoodGuide’s co-founder and chief sustainability officer.

And because of efforts by organizations like Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and the people supporting the initiative, we are now moving toward healthier, more transparent products, powered by consumers rather than federal regulation.


Helen Bulwik with the Newport Board Group, a national business advisory group, told the SF Gate,“It’s really coming down to the fact that the consumer is aware and is demanding it [safer standards]. The retailer is aware and demanding it. At some point, hopefully the government will follow suit, but the fact is no one can really wait for that.”

Target isn’t actually the first large retail chain to make such a move. Wal-Mart promised last month to “cut down or eliminate” 10 chemicals found in household and beauty products. The move by Wal-Mart was called “the first chemical policy of this scope by a major multinational retailer,” by the Clean Production Action, a consumer advocacy group fighting for greener products. CVS and Kroger have also recently eliminated some harmful ingredients from their stores.


This is a great start in the movement to reduce the number of toxic chemicals found in personal and household products of all kinds.

When Target opts to share the 100-point score with its consumers (right now, the plan is to keep the score business-to-business in order and then allow Target to make its product placement decisions in the store) and make them completely transparent, like with EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, then we’d really be making strides in allowing consumers to make more informed choices about the products they buy.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons