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Walking the Talk
CVS Health Nixes Harmful Chemicals from Beauty, Personal Care Products

Following the announcement of its new store renovation initiative, CVS Pharmacy has revealed that it will be eliminating parabens, phthalates and the most prevalent formaldehyde donors in nearly 600 beauty and personal care products in its CVS Health, Beauty 360, Essence of Beauty and Blade lines. CVS Pharmacy will stop shipping store brand products that don’t meet these standards to distribution centers by the end of 2019.

The move further builds on the company’s efforts to put its purpose into action — helping people on the path to better health — and comes in response to increasing consumer demand for safer, sustainable products.

“We are committed to providing our customers with the safe, efficacious products that they are looking for,” said Cia Tucci, VP of store brands and Quality Assurance at CVS Health. “We listened when customers voiced their desire for products that still provide the benefits they need with fewer ingredients of concern. Today’s announcement is a natural step in the evolution of our comprehensive approach to chemical safety.”

In addition to consulting consumers, CVS Health has engaged industry experts and advocacy groups to ensure that product quality can be maintained through the transition. The company has previously worked with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families (SCHF) coalition and its Mind the Store campaign, an organization working to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products and highlight opportunities for retailers to advance chemical safety in consumer products.

“This announcement is an exciting milestone not only for CVS Health, but for retailers and the role they play in driving change toward safer consumer products,” Mike Schade, Mind the Store’s campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Health Families. “We applaud CVS Health for the action it is taking today and we look forward to continued collaboration ahead. We hope other retailers will follow suit.”

Removing harmful chemicals such as parabens and phthalates from its products is a natural progression for CVS Health. In 2008, the company became the first major drugstore to establish a Cosmetic Safety Policy. Since then, it has made progress toward sustainable chemical management, including the launch of the WERCSmart tool in 2013 to ensure suppliers register ingredient information for all chemical-based products. In 2016, CVS Health became the first major pharmacy chain in the country to become a signatory of the Chemical Footprint Project.

“Our consumers expect both transparency and quality when it comes to ingredients in the products they use,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior VP of CSR and philanthropy at CVS Health. “This is an important step and we look forward to continuing work with stakeholders to address additional chemicals of consumer concern and focus on more product categories in the future.”

CVS has published its full list of restricted chemicals by product category here.


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