From food to toys to office supplies, there are a number of items sold at your local dollar store for an even lower price than what you might find at a larger retailer like a Walmart or Target. But a good deal might not always be worth it—especially when it comes to your health. A new report has found that both Dollar Tree and Dollar General are selling products that could be potentially harmful to consumers. Read on to find out what exactly you might want to skip on your next visit to these dollar stores.
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The Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and Coming Clean, Inc. recently joined forces to test for toxic chemicals in dollar store products, publishing their findings in a Campaign for Healthier Solutions 2022 report. Researchers purchased more than 200 products being sold from a number of dollar store retailers in the U.S. and Canada and tested a total of 635 unique components or materials from these products for certain toxic chemicals. According to the report, more than one half (53 percent) of all the products tested contained at least one chemical of concern.
“Chemicals of concern are those which, due to their inherent hazardous properties, present a known or reasonably suspected risk to human health and/or the environment,” the report explained. “The levels of concern for each chemical were established by Healthy Stuff Lab by reviewing levels restricted in one or more of the most protective government, corporate, or third-party standards on hazards in consumer products.”
The researchers tested a total of 87 products from Dollar Tree stores alone in the U.S. and Canada and found that 60 percent of the items contained at least one chemical of concern. They also tested the Family Dollar stores, which The Dollar Tree company owns, and found that out of 37 total products tested, 49 percent included one or more toxic chemical.
According to the report, products from both retailers included a number of concerning chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and lead. The specific products from Dollar Tree and Family Dollar found with these chemicals ranged from kitchen pans and headphones to microwave popcorn and cans of mixed vegetables.
A total of 32 products sold at Dollar General stores throughout the U.S. were analyzed by the researchers. According to the report, 12 of these products contained at least one concerning chemical, meaning 38 percent of the retailer’s products posed as a potential hazard to consumers. Dollar General’s concerning products were similar to those found at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, such as kitchen pans.
The researchers also reported that both the Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and the Clover Valley shredded white chicken sold at this retailer had toxic coatings on the interior of their packaging. The popcorn had perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in its grease-proof coating, while the white chicken had a toxic PVC copolymer coating on the interior of the can.
While the researchers identified a number of products being sold at Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General with toxic chemicals, none of these retailers topped their list. Instead, Five Below was found to have the highest percentage of products with at least one chemical of concern. The researchers tested 38 products sold at Five Below stores in the U.S. and found that 66 percent tested positive for one or more toxic chemical.
Several of the potentially hazardous products highlighted from this retailer are being marketed towards children. Five Below’s Disney Frozen II Hair Set Assembly, as well as its Squishy Unicorn, Superman, and Minnie Mouse headphones, were all found to contain ortho-phthalates. The US. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently deciding whether or not to ban the use of this class of chemicals in packaging due to their ability to “disrupt hormones and impair brain development,” according to Food Safety News.
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