(NWPCA Press Relase) The Washington Post reports that Wal-Mart is joining a growing list of companies, states, and international governments working to ban the use of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), a chemical fire retardant the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies as a “possible human carcinogen…,” which is used in numerous consumer and commercial products.
Wal-Mart’s PBDE ban applies to consumer goods, and as such is a good first step. However stores, like Wal-Mart, that sell food should also reconsider policies still allowing delivery of produce and grocery items on plastic pallets containing large levels of that same flame retardant.
For example, Intelligent Global Pooling System (iGPS) is the largest plastic pallet rental company in the U.S. Most of its customers are food producers and grocery manufacturers.
According to its own Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) conducted by Environmental Resources Management, each new iGPS pallet contains 3.4 lbs of decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE).
Whole Foods in a letter to its vendors in August 2009 said it would “not accept product on plastic pallets,” and that “product shipped on plastic pallets will be rejected.” To our knowledge no other food retailer has followed suit yet.