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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Stores are 'failing' on chemicals
PVC products may contain phthalates
Stores must do more to phase out hazardous chemicals which may adversely affect human health, according to Friends of the Earth Scotland.

It surveyed 28 major retailers on their policies towards a number of chemicals which are known to carry health risks.

Products where the chemicals may be found include plastic bottles, baby bottles, food cans and clothing.

Ikea, Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, B&Q and Co-op topped list for replacing risky chemicals with safer options.

Safer chemicals

The Co-operative Retail group recently produced a line of household cleaning products without phthalates and some artificial musks.

However, some chains did not perform so well and others did not reply to the request for information.

Currently, many consumer products including clothing, furniture, toys and TVs are not labelled with their chemical content.

Retailers in Scotland are responsible for the products they sell, and should remove chemicals that have been linked to health threats
Dr Dan Barlow

Dr Dan Barlow, Head of Research at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "Every day unborn babies, infants and toddlers are exposed to risky chemicals in household products.

"Retailers in Scotland are responsible for the products they sell, and should remove chemicals that have been linked to health threats.

"Although a number of retailers have started to tackle this important issue, too many stores are still not doing enough to reduce the risks that their products pose."

In addition to voluntary action, Friends of the Earth is calling for tough new laws to regulate chemicals.

The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers are currently discussing proposed new chemical legislation.

Problem chemicals include brominated flame retardants which may be used in electronic equipment such as TVs, computers and video systems and phthalates which may be used in PVC products.

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