HealthyStuff, in collaboration with the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, released a report today about toxic chemicals found in Dollar store products. The report — A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Discount Retailers are Falling Behind on Safer Chemicals — includes testing results for 164 dollar store products such as toys, jewelry, school supplies and other household items, that found over 81% (133 of 164) contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern.
The campaign also sent a letter to the CEO’s of the four largest Dollar store chains — including Family Dollar (tentatively acquired by Dollar Tree on January 22), Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 99 Cents Only urging them to stop the sale of products with hazardous chemicals to communities of color and low-income families, who already live in more polluted areas and “food deserts,” and adopt policies that will protect both customers and their businesses. Combined these discount chains have sales totaling over $36 billion and operate more stores nationally than Walmart.
“People struggling to make ends meet are confined to shopping at the Dollar stores,” said Jose T. Bravo, National Coordinator for the Campaign for Healthier Solutions. “We are already disproportionately affected by pollution and lack of adequate medical care, and now we know we’re filling our homes and our bodies with chemicals released from Dollar store products. This needs to stop. “
“We’ve tested 1,000′s of products from dozens of retailers over the last ten years, said Jeff Gearhart, HealthyStuff Research Director. “And on average the dollar store products are some of the poorest peforming from a chemical hazard perspective. I am particularly concerned about the comparatively high percentage of products containing hazardous plasticizers. “
The chemicals of concern found in Dollar store products tested for this report include: phthalates, linked to birth defects, reduced fertility, cancer, learning disabilities, diabetes, and other health issues; polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC or vinyl), which creates hazards throughout its life cycle and has been linked to asthma and lung effects; and toxic metals such as lead, which harms brain development, leading to learning disabilities, lower IQ, and cause other serious health impacts, especially in children.