Rite Aid To Address Chemicals in Private Brands

Earlier this month Camp Hill, Pennsylvania based drugstore Rite Aid announced that the retailer has established its Chemical Policy and expanded Restricted Substances List as part of ongoing efforts to continue meeting customer expectations for chemical management and product safety.

Rite Aid has been working closely with supplier partners to eliminate eight high-priority chemicals from private brand products since 2016. These chemicals include triclosan, formaldehyde, toluene, butylparaben, propylparaben, dibutyl phthalate, diethyl phthalate and nonylphenol ethoxylates. As a result, the vast majority of the company’s private brand items currently comply with these standards and Rite Aid remains on track to fully eliminate these chemicals from private brand items by 2020.

Rite Aid has also expanded its Restricted Substances List (RSL) to go beyond these eight high-priority chemicals as well as existing U.S. regulatory requirements. The expanded RSL brings additional parabens, phthalates, nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and formaldehyde donors within the scope of Rite Aid’s efforts to reduce the use of chemicals of concern, bringing the total number of restricted chemicals from eight to 69. Rite Aid’s updated RSL, as well as the complete policy, can be found at www.riteaid.com/corporate/chemical-policy.

“As a company, we remain committed to working closely with our supplier partners to provide our customers with the effective products they need while avoiding the use of chemicals of concern,” said William Renz, Rite Aid senior vice president of category management. “Ensuring the safety of the products we sell has always been a top priority at Rite Aid, and we’re pleased to be implementing a newly developed policy that will further support our efforts.”

To that end, Rite Aid will begin implementing UL’s WERCsmart and PURview platforms in order to provide more robust screening, tracking, monitoring and reporting capabilities. With an expanded RSL and new technology, the company is also extending the scope of its chemical management program to include formulated items made by national brands.

“At Rite Aid, our mission is to improve the health and wellness of the communities we serve, and this commitment extends to making sure that we’re meeting our customers’ expectations when it comes to the ingredients found in the items we sell,” said Daniel Miller, Rite Aid senior vice president of pharmacy and regulatory affairs. “By establishing our Chemical Policy and updated Restricted Substances List, we are expanding and formalizing our efforts to continue meeting the product safety expectations of our customers.”

As part of the company’s efforts, Rite Aid has been engaging with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and its Mind the Store Campaign. The organization leads a coalition of more than 450 organizations and businesses that encourages retailers to replace chemicals of concern with safer alternatives.

“We applaud Rite Aid for restricting these harmful chemicals and developing a comprehensive safer chemicals policy,” said Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. “This will go a long way in meeting the rising consumer demand for safer and healthier products. Retailers like Rite Aid can play an important role in driving harmful chemicals out of commerce and promoting safer alternatives.”

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.