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Dollar store products found to be loaded with toxic chemicals

Everyone wants to get more than they paid for. Who doesn’t like a bargain? Unfortunately, recent testing of 164 dollar store products found that the little extras they’re offering are toxic chemicals like toxic metals, pthlates, BPAs, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.

Healthystuff, an organization that researches toxic chemicals in everyday products, teamed with the Campaign for Healthier Solutions to release this report, which found over 81% of the products tested from retailers like Dollar Tree and Dollar General had a troubling level of at least one hazardous chemical.

With the majority of dollar store customers unable to afford to shop elsewhere, will these findings change the way the dollar stores do business? Or will they continue to take advantage of people who feel they don’t have a choice?

Can You Trust Big Business?

Walmart is the first corporation you think of when you think of big business that caters to lower income people and families. That dollar store hidden in a strip mall of doesn’t even seem to be on the same level. Don’t be fooled – dollar stores are big business and they’re getting bigger. Dollar Tree has 4,900 stores and with their tentative acquisition of Family Dollar has potentially added 8000 more stores. In contrast, Walmart had only 4,399 locations in the United States at the end of last year.

The four stores that had products tested in this study (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and 99 Cents Only) have combined sales of over 36 million. This is big business, and it seems like dollar stores are more concerned with profiting from cheaply made, toxic items than providing consumers with safe products.

Healthystuff found widespread causes for alarm in their tests of dollar store products. In addition to the 81% of items that were found to contain concerning levels of one hazardous chemical, a little less than half (49%) of the items tested had two or more hazardous toxins at concerning levels.

PVC was found in 38% of items tested and 32% had high levels of pthalates, a group of chemicals found to cause birth defects, diabetes, and cancer as well as other health issues. Forty percent of sales at these dollar stores are food products. Too often, lower income people choose these items due to their affordability, not knowing about the presence of cancer-causing BPAs or other chemicals.

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