The toxic retailer report is out and findings may surprise you.
A new report from The Mind the Store Campaign has just named North America's most toxic retailers, and you might be surprised who we found on the list.

Sure, sure...we know that if we're headed to McDonald's, odds are we're not going there for their clean food or non-toxic practices.

But what about Trader Joes? You love it as much as I do because you can find clean foods and they're such a 'good' company. I know, I know.

Which is why I was so disappointed to read about some of the most toxic retailers in North America. Some were obvious to me; but others? Not so much.

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The Toxic Substances ControlAct (TSCA) mandates that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keep current listings of chemical substances that are manufactured or processed in the United States. Of the almost 85,000 on the list, about 10,000 are allowed to be put into food and food-contact materials in the United States, even though nowhere near that many have been tested fully for safety.

More and more scientists and researchers share their concerns about the effects of continued toxic exposures, and urge consumers to work harder on using fewer toxic chemicals. While change is seen in things as basic as the access to organic products (though the affordable access is a different story!), still, many major retailers are not giving enough regard to consumer demand and research-based concerns for less toxicity.

Three years ago, the Mind The Store Campaign began on the part of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. They published a report card about retailers' chemical safety policies as well as their actions in an effort to encourage retailers to be less toxic. The third annual report has come out and it details what companies have worked to take positive steps and what companies have not.

For the first time, this year chain restaurants' activities were included and graded. The campaign evaluated 40 major retailers and found that about half of the companies have made meaningful progress toward improving the toxicity and chemical safety of products they sell--food and packaging included. Although the progress has been slow, it's been there and is measurable.

The other half, includes all the restaurant chains, and shows no measurable or significant effort to reduce toxicity in its offerings.

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According to the recently released report, four retailers obtained the highest grades for their efforts to protect their customers from toxicity in product and packaging and are considered industry pacesetters The four companies and their grades are: Apple (A+), Target (A), Walmart (A-) and Ikea (A-).

The companies that captured 2018's most improved in rankings were Walgreens, Rite Aid and Amazon. In the last two months, all three of the companies have announced tremendously significant and positive chemical safety overhauls.

Mike Schade is the campaign director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. He said that companies can take commonsense steps to phase out toxic chemicals in their everyday products. He emphasized that retailers play an important role in a consumer's life--the power and moral responsibility to 'mind the store,' should be at the forefront of all decisions. He encourages retailers to prohibit the chemical corporations from putting the public's health at risk.

Nearly half of the retailers received a grade of an 'F.' With stores like Target, Walmart, Whole Foods, CVS and Rite Aid being a the top, stores like Dollar General, 99Cents Only, Sobeys, Publix and Trader Joes rounded up the bottom five in the grocery category. Yes, Trader Joes.

Want to see if your favorite retailers made the list and where they fell? Check out the full report here.

Photo: Philip Arno Photography/Shutterstock