COVID-19 increases urgency of chemical management

February 11, 2021
2020 CFP cover

Growing scientific evidence shows exposure to harmful chemicals may exacerbate the health impacts of COVID-19. Through the Chemical Footprint Project, investors are evaluating companies’ chemical footprint management, safer alternative identification and disclosure of chemicals in their products.

The Chemical Footprint Project recently released its fifth annual survey results. In the 2020 survey, a total of 33 companies across seven industry sectors responded. The results emphasize the urgency for companies to reduce their chemical footprint given harmful chemicals’ role in exacerbating the health impacts of COVID-19. As the report notes, scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and other leading organizations are “connecting the dots between exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, elevated rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and the association of these diseases with higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.” This urgency is also driven by the racial divide in vulnerability to the coronavirus, as well as other health conditions, which is compounded by the disproportionate exposure to hazardous chemicals experienced by Black, Latinx, and other communities of color.

Mercy Investment Services uses the Chemical Footprint Project to demonstrate best practices and the business value of safer chemical management with companies. Although their journey isn’t complete, many surveyed companies have taken steps to go beyond regulatory compliance. Amazon, Costco, and Lowe’s have publicly adopted safer chemical policies with commitments to phase out chemicals of concern, and Kroger recently launched a personal care and beauty line that will be free from parabens, phthalates, and other harmful chemicals.

Mercy Investment Services’ ongoing commitment to healthy persons and communities will continue to include encouraging companies to manufacture and procure products that ensure the long-term safety of the consumer and the environment.