Walmart recently released a new policy on what chemicals they will allow in the personal care products sold on their shelves. The call for this kind of responsibility in consumer goods has grown in volume over the past few years. Groups like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) have been lobbying the large retailers for higher standards in revealing harmful ingredients to consumers as well as removing chemicals of major concern.
Walmart’s new policy includes a higher level of transparency from

their suppliers, making complete
ingredient lists available to consumers by 2015. The policy also has the retail store phasing out use of 10 specifically concerning chemicals, though which chemicals are on this list has not yet been released to the public.

Advocates of green environmental care are viewing this policy change as a win and challenge other major retailers to quickly join in steps towards progress in customer safety and policy improvement. While Walmart’s policy has certainly improved their relationship with environmental advocacy groups, the ambiguity of policy specifics cause some doubt as to how and when the public will actually see noticeable changes in the products they use.
Dr. Shri Thanedar, CEO of Avomeen Analytical Services believes in creating products with less objectionable chemicals, and urges Walmart and their suppliers to employ best practices in product eco-friendly reformulation. His company specializes in a chemistry technique called deformulation in which an existing product can be broken down into its individual components, providing a comprehensive ingredient list. This list can then be used to adjust the formula in order to create an innovative and safer product per the client’s specifications. 
“Creating products with safer ingredients can seem like a complicated or impossible task, but if you have the right scientists, who know what to look for and are adept at deformulation and reformulation services, there is no reason that better products could not be on the shelves by 2014.”
Due to the scale at which manufactures produce a product it may take multiple years to sell what finished items are already stored in warehouses, but the CEO of Avomeen says progress should start now.
“Why wait until you are forced by a policy to change your product? Every creative thinker wants to make their invention the best it can be, it should be the same in personal care products. Every supplier and manufacture should start product analysis and chemical research to find what ways they can adapt their product’s formula to make a better brand. These new items should be suitable for human use and even better than the minimum requirements a retailer like Walmart may put into place.”

Walmart may only be committing to a gradual “phase out” of concerning chemicals but these future changes require immediate action by manufactures. The EDF and the general public may have awhile to wait before harmful ingredients are off the shelves, but progress is being made. The responsibility to find the necessary regulatory consulting, deformulation, and new product development resources, like Avomeen, now lie with the suppliers themselves.