The 3 controversial chemicals Loblaw has banned from its products

The grocery and drug store giant is following the lead of other manufacturers and increasingly picky consumers

Shopper leaving Loblaw store, pushing a stroller

(Darren Calabrese/CP)

Loblaw announced today that its house–brand cosmetics and household products will no longer contain three controversial ingredients—triclosan, phthalates or microbeads—by the end of 2018. Dr. Rick Smith, an advisor working with Loblaw, says there’s increasing scientific evidence around the world that indicate these ingredients could be harmful to human health and the environment. Canada’s largest food retailer pledged to phase out these ingredients from products sold under their Life and President’s Choice brands.

1. Triclosan

Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in consumer products such as soaps, body washes, toothpaste and some cosmetic products. Studies raise concern that triclosan resistance may contribute to reduced susceptibility to important antimicrobials.

2. Phthalates

Phthalates are a family of chemicals used to in hundreds of products, for example, to add fragrance to body lotions and to reduce cracking in nail polishes. There are health concerns that the chemical may cause hormone disruptions that can lead to thyroid disorders and diabetes.

3. Microbeads

Microbeads are a common component of skin exfoliants. The tiny beads seep out of water-treatment systems into lakes and rivers, choking fish and marine life that ingest it. In the south, Illinois became the first U.S. state to ban the manufacture and sale of products containing microbeads, which will be enacted in 2018.

Loblaw has followed suit of companies like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and P&G, which in 2013 announced the ban of phthalates and triclosan in its beauty and personal care products, in response to decade long pressure from activist groups prompting consumer goods company to stop using chemicals that have been linked to birth defects, cancer, diabetes and infertility.

This is just the company’s latest move to scrub its products of substances that consumers are increasingly shunning: Last fall Loblaw also announced that it would remove artificial flavours and colours from all President’s Choice products.