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Friday, November 30, 2018

Donald Trump May Have Just Lied His Way to Prison

Con man gets snared in his own con
By David Cay Johnston, DCReport Editor-in-Chief

Image may contain: sky and outdoorPay close attention to the front page story in Wednesday’s New York Times about Paul Manafort’s lawyer cooperating with Trump’s lawyers. 

It may well prove to be very important news just a short way down the road.

Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler, among others, has poked fun at the piece since it basically has one key new fact, not the torrent of them we find in so many other important stories about Trump White House intrigues.

Its sole named source is Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s television lawyer. 

Giuliani acknowledged that information gleaned from Manafort’s meetings with FBI agents and prosecutors as a cooperating witness was being passed to Team Trump by Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing.

That one fact could well doom Trump’s presidency and perhaps land Trump and others behind bars.


For more cartoons from Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Eat your heart out

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

The heat is on

Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows
World Meteorological Organization

Image result for effects of climate change

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that global concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide have been increasing steadily over the past years. 

In addition, the report notes a resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance called CFC-11, which is regulated under an international agreement to protect the ozone layer.

Different types of physical activity offer varying protection against heart disease

Static activity, such as strength training, appears more beneficial
American College of Cardiology

old jumping jacks GIFWhile it is well known that physical activity is important for heart health, neither research nor recommendations consistently differentiate between the benefits of different types of physical activity. 

New research, presented at the ACC Latin America Conference 2018 in Lima, Peru, found that while all physical activity is beneficial, static activities -- such as strength training -- were more strongly associated with reducing heart disease risks than dynamic activities like walking and cycling.

"Both strength training and aerobic activity appeared to be heart healthy, even in small amounts, at the population level," said Maia P. Smith, PhD, MS, statistical epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George's University in St. George's, Grenada. 

Fewer Rules Mean Bigger Profits, Not Better Healthcare

Eased rules on kickbacks from Big Pharma to docs will cost you money
By Terry H. Schwadron, DCReport New York Editor

Related imageToday’s governmental head-scratcher is from the Department of Health and Human Services. For reasons not quite clear, the regulation-cutting Trump administration has asked doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies for advice on loosening laws that prohibit kickbacks on drug sales.

An article inside The New York Times outlined a quiet campaign under way to bring in exactly those forces who have participated in payments intended to influence care for people on Medicare or Medicaid seemingly to make it easier to do so.

As overall policy goes, it’s not earthshaking but seems an important indicator about direction. Deregulation is not the solution for every problem, as seems this administration’s strategy.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Time for trust-busting

Image result for Break Up Facebook, Google, Apple, and AmazonThe New York Times revealed last week that Facebook executives withheld evidence of Russian activity on the Facebook platform far longer than previously disclosed. 

They also employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics.

There’s a larger story here.
America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations — railroads, steel production, oil extraction — but culminated in mammoth trusts owned by “robber barons” who used their wealth and power to drive out competitors and corrupt American politics.

We’re now in a second Gilded Age — ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet — that has spawned a handful of giant high-tech companies.

Facebook and Google dominate advertising. They’re the first stops for many Americans seeking news. Apple dominates smartphones and laptop computers. Amazon is now the first stop for a third of all American consumers seeking to buy anything.

Royal treatment

From Russia, with cash

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New grants for coastal science

RI Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation & Modeling announces grants for URI faculty
Image result for algae blooms in rhode islandThe Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology Assessment, Innovation, and Modeling has announced the recipients of its 2018-19 Seed Grant program, which assists faculty at the University of Rhode Island developing innovative projects in STEM and arts and humanities fields. 

The grants will also foster research collaboration and build upon the consortium’s efforts in science communication and visualization.

The following two STEM-related projects will receive $25,000 each: “Algae-Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy-based Detection of Nitrates and Phosphates in Water,” submitted by Assistant Professor Daniel Roxbury (principal investigator) and Professor Arijit Bose (co-principal investigator), both of URI’s Department of Chemical Engineering, and “Addressing predictive modeling knowledge gaps to improve information used in decision making,” by Colleen Suckling, assistant professor in the College of The Environment and Life Sciences.

Health Dept. gets new tech to help detect unhealthy waterways

By TODD McLEISH/ecoRI News contributor

Image result for algae blooms in rhode islandWhen a large bloom of harmful algae appeared in lower Narragansett Bay in October 2016, and again in early 2017, Rhode Island’s testing methods weren’t refined enough to detect it before the toxins produced by the algae had contaminated local shellfish.

That scenario isn’t likely to happen in the future, now that the Rhode Island Department of Health’s laboratories have acquired new instrumentation and analytical tests to detect the toxins early and to determine when they have dissipated enough so shellfish harvesting may resume.

Stop health hacks

Healthcare providers -- not hackers -- leak more of your data
Michigan State University

More than half of personal health data breaches are caused by internal issues of healthcare entities. Credit: Image courtesy of Michigan State University

Your personal identity may fall at the mercy of sophisticated hackers on many websites, but when it comes to health data breaches, hospitals, doctors offices and even insurance companies are oftentimes the culprits.

New research from Michigan State University and Johns Hopkins University found that more than half of the recent personal health information, or PHI, data breaches were because of internal issues with medical providers -- not because of hackers or external parties.

"There's no perfect way to store information, but more than half of the cases we reviewed were not triggered by external factors -- but rather by internal negligence," said John (Xuefeng) Jiang, lead author and associate professor of accounting and information systems at MSU's Eli Broad College of Business.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Another reason to boycott Sinclair-owned WJAR, Channel 10

New Sinclair ‘must-run’ segment justifies use of tear gas on migrant children
For more cartoons by Matt Bors, CLICK HERE.
The pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcast Group launched a new “must-run” segment for the hundreds of local news stations it owns across the country, in which it defends the use of tear gas on child migrants attempting to cross the border on Sunday.

“The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated,” Sinclair’s chief political analyst and former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn says in the segment. “This past weekend…. Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.”

“The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country. Period,” Epshteyn continued. “Our border must remain intact and secure.”

While the scenes at the border were chaotic, none of the migrants were armed and there was no organized attack on the border or Border Patrol agents. Multiple children were in the crowd, however, and photos of them fleeing the tear gas have gone viral on social mediaAccording to medical professionals, the tear gas could lead to long-term respiratory problems for the children.

Saudi scandal just misunderstood

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

Donald Trump's Christmas card

Protect yourself from idiots in the woods

Shotgun Deer Hunting Season Opens On Saturday, December 1

Related image
The family that slays together stays together. Unfortunately.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reminds all Rhode Islanders that, for safety reasons, they must wear fluorescent orange when in State management areas and undeveloped State parks during the shotgun deer hunting season, which opens on Saturday, December 1.

All hunters, including archers, are required to wear 500 square inches of fluorescent orange during the shotgun season. 

Waterfowl hunters hunting from a boat or blind, over water or field, and when done in conjunction with decoys are exempt from the blaze orange requirements. Archers are exempt from wearing hunter orange in areas of the state that are limited to hunting by archery-only.

Throughout all shotgun deer seasons, all other users of State management areas and designated undeveloped State parks also must wear at least 500 square inches of solid, daylight fluorescent orange material. 

For all hunters and management area users, the orange clothing should include a hat and vest worn above the waist and visible in all directions. A blaze orange vest that's 20 inches long by 25 inches wide has 500 square inches of surface area.

Seal release at 10:00 am tomorrow at Blue Shutters Beach!

Thursday, November 29 10:00am

Blue Shutters Beach, Charlestown, RI

You're invited to join us as we release Barnes, a young harbor seal rescued by Marine Mammals of Maine in Phippsburg, ME.

The approximately two week old pup was admitted to the Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic on May 22 weighing approximately 18 pounds. Abandoned shortly after birth, Barnes required around-the-clock care for the first several weeks which included formula feeds every three hours, weekly exams and a daily cleaning of the umbilicus.

A couple of weeks ago, Mystic Aquarium announced via social media its ‘winning tradition’ of naming seals after New England champions following the 2017 release of Trey, named for Super Bowl™ champ Trey Flowers of the New England Patriots. Barnes was named after Connecticut native, former UConn Husky and 2018 World Series™ champ Matt Barnes, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.

Following months of dedicated care from the staff, interns and volunteers of the Animal Rescue Team, Barnes now weights over 53 pounds and is prepared for life at sea.

Please remember that seal release dates and times may change without notice.

Thank you for your support and understanding. 

Lettuce update: some might be safe

FDA believes it has found the source
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D

Related imageThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state authorities, continues to investigate a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections associated with consumption of romaine lettuce in the U.S. 

As of Nov. 26, 2018, this outbreak has resulted in 43 people becoming ill in 12 states, with the last reported illness onset date being Oct. 31, 2018. An additional 22 people in Canada have become ill, and the FDA and our partners are also coordinating the investigation with Canadian health and food safety authorities.

As we continue to investigate this outbreak, today the FDA is announcing new steps to help consumers better identify where their romaine is grown through voluntary labeling.

To prevent additional cases of E. coli O157:H7, on Nov. 20, 2018 the CDC advised the public not to consume romaine lettuce and to destroy any romaine lettuce in their homes. 

At the same time, the FDA requested that all romaine lettuce on the market, including in restaurants and other commercial establishments, should be withdrawn and destroyed. 

The FDA made this request because initial information available at that time had not identified a likely source for the outbreak that would allow a targeted request, it was likely romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 that could cause illness was still available on the market, and a market withdrawal was the fastest way to remove potentially contaminated product. 

The romaine lettuce industry agreed to comply with the FDA’s request to withdraw any romaine lettuce on the market on that date, and available information suggests this action was effective in removing potentially contaminated romaine lettuce from retail establishments. 

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the FDA continued to investigate the outbreak. 

Our investigation at this point suggests that romaine lettuce associated with the outbreak comes from areas of California that grow romaine lettuce over the summer months, and that the outbreak appears to be related to “end of season” romaine lettuce harvested from these areas. 

The involved areas include the Central Coast growing regions of central and northern California.

The FDA is continuing tracebacks of romaine lettuce from locations where impacted consumers purchased or consumed romaine lettuce before they became ill in order to identify specific locations that are the likely source of the outbreak and to determine the factors that resulted in contamination. 

Through laboratory studies we have identified that the E. coli O157:H7 strain causing the outbreak is similar to one that produced an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the fall of 2017 that also occurred in the U.S. and Canada, which was associated with consumption of leafy greens in the U.S. and specifically romaine lettuce in Canada.

Based on further discussions with the leafy greens industry and with agricultural authorities, we have begun to narrow the location in which we believe the contaminated romaine in the current outbreak was grown. At the time of the outbreak, the vast majority of the romaine on the market was being grown in the Central Coast region of California. 

Since, then harvesting of romaine lettuce from this region has ended for the year. 

Growing and harvesting of romaine lettuce is now shifting to the winter growing regions of the U.S., which include mainly the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma, and Florida. 

Romaine lettuce grown in Mexico is exported to the U.S. during the winter months. Smaller quantities of romaine lettuce are grown in other states. 

At this time, the FDA has no information to suggest any of these growing areas are involved in the current outbreak, which began well before any romaine lettuce from these winter growing locations was available for harvest. 

In addition, hydroponic romaine lettuce and romaine lettuce grown in green-houses is also marketed in the U.S., but there is no information to suggest these products are implicated in any identified E. coli O157:H7 outbreak. 

The FDA believes it was critically important to have a “clean break” in the romaine supply available to consumers in the U.S. in order to purge the market of potentially contaminated romaine lettuce related to the current outbreak. This appears to have been accomplished through the market withdrawal request of Nov. 20, 2018.

Knowing the growing origin of produce will continue to play an important role in allowing consumers to avoid contaminated products and facilitating market withdrawals and tracebacks. 

That’s why we previously called on the romaine lettuce industry to provide unambiguous and clear information to consumers regarding where their lettuce was grown and when it was harvested.

To this end, the FDA recently participated in discussions with the major producers and distributors of romaine lettuce in the U.S. and with the major trade associations representing the produce industry regarding product labeling and dating to assure consumers that any romaine lettuce that will come onto the market is not associated with the current outbreak of E. coli O157:H7. 

The labeling will identify the origin of the romaine based on harvest region, along with the date of harvest. This can improve the ability of the FDA to provide more targeted information to consumers in the event of a future outbreak of illness. The FDA also has commitments from the romaine lettuce industry that such labeling will continue into the future and become the standard for their products. 

In addition, the leafy greens industry has agreed to establish a task force to find solutions for long term labeling of romaine lettuce and other leafy greens for helping to identify products and to put in place standards for traceability of product. 

The task force will also examine information from this outbreak to identify measures that led to its occurrence and how to prevent ongoing safety problems with romaine lettuce. One outcome could be to extend the commitment for labeling for origin and date of harvest to other leafy greens.

Therefore, the FDA is issuing the following updated advice as part of our investigation and public warning:

Based on discussions with major producers and distributors, romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with a harvest location and a harvest date. Romaine lettuce entering the market can also be labeled as being hydroponically or greenhouse grown. If it does not have this information, you should not eat or use it.

If consumers, retailers, and food service facilities are unable to identify that romaine lettuce products are not affected – which means determining that the products were grown outside the California regions that appear to be implicated in the current outbreak investigation -- we urge that these products not be purchased, or if purchased, be discarded or returned to the place of purchase.

Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. 

Hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown romaine also does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. There is no recommendation for consumers or retailers to avoid using romaine harvested from these sources.  

The FDA has urged growers, processors, distributors and retailers to:

  • clearly and prominently label all individually packaged romaine products to identify growing region and harvest date for romaine; and
  • clearly and prominently label at the point of sale the growing region when it is not possible for romaine lettuce suppliers to label the package (e.g. individual unwrapped whole heads of romaine lettuce available in retail stores).
We hope that growers, processors, distributors and retailers will join us in our effort to protect consumers by applying these labeling recommendations to their products. 

We remain committed to identifying ways to decrease the incidence and impact of foodborne illness outbreaks, and will continue to provide updates on our investigation and changes to our advice on romaine lettuce as more information becomes available.

Diesel fumes are NOT healthy

Enforce the law against excessive school bus idling

Image result for school bus fumesThe Rhode Island Departments of Environmental Management (DEM), Health (RIDOH), and Elementary and Secondary Education (RIDE) are enlisting the support of Rhode Island school districts to protect school children and their bus drivers from breathing excessive amounts of diesel exhaust emissions.

The agencies, in a joint letter to all Rhode Island school superintendents, are asking the school districts to enforce State air pollution control regulations that limit school bus idling time and encouraging school transportation providers to replace aging diesel buses with cleaner, environmentally-friendly buses.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trump shows no respect

Democracies depend on what’s known as the “rule of law.” It’s based on three fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them.
The first is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal acts.

Yet in recent weeks Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at least had possessed enough integrity to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, and replaced him with an inexperienced loyalist hack, Matthew G. Whitaker – whose only distinction to date has been loud and public condemnation of the investigation.

As a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker even suggested that a clever attorney general could secretly starve the investigation of funds.

There’s no question why Trump appointed Whitaker. When asked by the Daily Caller, Trump made it clear: “As far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had…. It’s an illegal investigation.”

Fine detective work

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

Republican American Dream

Pic of the Moment

ICYMI: Signs of xmas

25 poinsettia varieties on sale by URI Master Gardeners, Nov. 30-Dec. 1

Related imageFor those interested in holiday decorating, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 are very big days. 

On that Friday and Saturday, the URI Master Gardeners will host their annual poinsettia sale, and 25 different poinsettia varieties will be available for purchase.

The event takes place at URI’s East Farm on Route 108 in Kingston from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 30 and 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 1. The cost of each poinsettia is $10 while supplies last.

“The Master Gardeners have nursed the plants into a glorious display of mostly red plants, with some whites, pinks and variegated plants as well,” said Kate Venturini of the URI Cooperative Extension. “Visitors will be impressed with the size and health of the plants, as well as with their vibrant colors.”

Would Dow Chemical lie to us?

Industry bias taints study on widely used insecticide

Image result for Would Dow Chemical lie to us?Researchers who examined Dow Chemical Company-sponsored animal tests performed two decades ago on the insecticide chlorpyrifos found inaccuracies in what the company reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency compared to what the data showed.

And, according to internal EPA communication, agency scientists also had issues with the study interpretations, yet the agency approved the compound for continued use anyway.

"EPA staff scientists and staff were telling management there were problems," said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was not involved in the current study but has worked on issues related to toxics, including chlorpyrifos, for decades.

"And management disregarded it."

Monday, November 26, 2018

“JFK Democrat” or Reagan Democrat?

Speakernomics tastes like trickle-down and oligarchy
Image result for nick mattiello“The economy is moving in the right direction,” said Rhode Island Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) to Providence Journal‘s Ed Achorn in an interview conducted shortly after a caucus vote that more or less confirmed Mattiello as Speaker for another two years. 

“We had good policies. We’ve cut taxes. We’ve reduced regulations. [italics mine] We are incentivizing people and companies to come to the State of Rhode Island. Our policies are good and the results are showing. We have more jobs than ever before our unemployment rate is at 3.9 percent, I believe. We’re moving in the right direction.”

The policy of cutting taxes and reducing regulations is called supply-side economics, most famously known as Reaganomics or trickle-down economics. It doesn’t work.

The idea is that tax cuts and deregulation make the rich more likely to invest and expand the economy, because they will have more money and it will be easier to launch new business schemes without all that troublesome red tape to wade through. 

The reality is that tax cuts on the rich simply make the rich richer, driving economic and income inequality, which today is at record levels.

"Thank you, Saudi Arabia"

Progressive comic about Trump getting lower gas prices from the death of Khashoggi

Then and now

Image may contain: 1 person

History right off our coast

New images of RI’s historic sunken submarines help URI historian make case for protection
New underwater imagery shows the sunken remains of U.S. submarine USS L8, German submarine U-853, and U.S. merchant ship Black Point in Rhode Island waters. (Images courtesy of NOAA Office of Exploration and Research)

When the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Exploration and Research sought to test out a new technology for producing high-resolution images of the sea floor, University of Rhode Island maritime historian and archaeologist Rod Mather suggested the perfect test sites – the resting places of four historic sunken submarines in Rhode Island waters.

“Rhode Island was a major player in the development of submarine warfare, beginning just after the Civil War, when an experimental torpedo facility was developed in Newport,” said Mather, a professor of history and the director of the URI Applied History Lab. 

“When the Navy expanded its operations in World War I, the Newport torpedo station manufactured a huge number of torpedoes, and that station had 13,000 workers and built a third of all the torpedoes used by the U.S. in World War II.”

Gluten: threat or menace?

Should you eat a low-gluten diet?
University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

An increasing number of people choose a low-gluten diet, even though they are not allergic to the dietary substance. 

This trend has sparked public debate about whether or not low-gluten diets are recommendable for people without allergies.

Now, researchers from University of Copenhagen among others have looked into just that.

In an intervention study of healthy Danish adults, reported in Nature Communications, an international team of scientists shows that a low-gluten but fibre-rich diet changes the community of gut bacteria and decreases gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating and is linked to a modest weight loss. 

The changes in intestinal comfort and body weight relate to changes in gut bacteria composition and function.

Diploma and a union card

Graduate teaching and research assistants at Brown vote to unionize
Georgetown-Brown GAGE/SUGSE group
(AFT photo)
Four months after Brown agreed to election procedures with graduate student representatives, eligible students voted in favor of unionization in an election managed by the American Arbitration Association.

After a four-day secret ballot election that culminated on Monday, Nov. 19, eligible Brown University graduate students in research and teaching positions have voted in favor of union representation.

The American Arbitration Association (AAA), which managed the election, tallied the results and reported that by a majority count of 576 to 394, eligible graduate students voted to unionize. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Romaine lettuce is too dangerous to sell. Guns are not

Gun violence kills 96 people every day.
Image result for romaine vs. gunsOn Thanksgiving Day 2018, Americans couldn’t buy romaine lettuce because of a CDC recall linked to an E. Coli outbreak. 

But even though gun violence is so mundane that a shooting at a mall in Alabama Thursday evening barely made national news, guns were still freely available at stores like Walmart across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control issued a food safety alert on Tuesday afternoon, urging Americans to refrain from eating, and retailers from selling, any romaine lettuce, “until we learn more about the outbreak.” Five people died from an E. coli outbreak in June, and nearly two hundred people got sick.

Food safety is certainly an important thing to get right, but the number of Americans who die from foodborne illness every year — 3,000 according to the CDC — is dwarfed by the 30,000-plus annual fatalities caused by guns in America.

On Thanksgiving Day, after the federal government had taken swift action to protect citizens from pathogen-laden romaine leaves, one male teen suspect in a Birmingham, Alabama mall allegedly shot and injured two others, including a 12-year-old girl. He was pursued by police, shot, and killed. Those were not the only casualties caused by guns that day.

Trump insults Jesus

For more cartoons by Ted Rall, CLICK HERE.

VIDEO: How we help red states

To watch this video on YouTube:

How old McDonald did it

The taming of the dog, cow, horse, pig and rabbit
Earlham Institute
Related imageResearch at the Earlham Institute into one of the 'genetic orchestra conductors', microRNAs, sheds light on our selectively guided evolution of domestic pets and farmyard animals such as dogs and cows.

What does a cow, a horse, a pig, a rabbit and a dog have in common, and how similar or dissimilar are their genetic conductors?

They're all animals domesticated by humans -- and the results have been quite incredible. 

Over just a few thousand years of selective breeding, these creatures have been bred for specific characteristics, leading to an incredible morphological and behavioral variety across breeds . 

Better understanding of the domestication process can lead to better, more sustainable food and a greater understanding of human diseases.

Fast food chains sloppy about toxic chemicals

Report: Restaurant Chains Slow to Reduce Chemical Hazards
By ecoRI News staff

Lagging RetailersA recently released report by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families reveals that major retail companies are making slow but meaningful progress at improving the chemical safety of the products, food, and packaging they sell.

However, nearly half of those scored, including every restaurant chain evaluated, have failed to take any public measures to help eliminate toxic chemicals from the products they carry. 

The third annual Who’s Minding the Store? A Report Card on Retailer Actions to Eliminate Toxic Chemicals evaluated and graded the chemical policies and practices of 40 of the largest North American retailers, including supermarket and fast-food chains.

Four retailers received the highest grades for their work to protect customers from toxic products and packaging, setting the pace for the industry: Apple (A+), Target (A), Walmart (A-), and IKEA (A-). In 2018, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Amazon were ranked “most improved,” with all three companies announcing sweeping chemical safety policies over the past two months.

Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health received a B+. Both Best Buy and Trader Joe’s have taken action on toxic chemicals in thermal receipt paper and Mike Schade, Mind the Store Campaign director and report co-author, said he would like to see CVS could join them in addressing this issue.

Nearly half of retailers evaluated for the 2018 report received a grade of F for failing to announce policies or publicly report progress to assess, reduce, or eliminate toxic chemicals in the products or packaging they sell.