When we go shopping, especially if it’s at a major retailer, we can reasonably expect that the products we buy will be free from harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, especially when it comes to dollar stores like Family Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, 99 Cents Only, and Five Below.
To compile a list of toxic products sold at these discount outlets, 24/7 Tempo reviewed “Toxic Chemicals in Dollar Store Products: 2022 Report,” published by the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, a project of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform and Coming Clean, Inc. that asks dollar stores to phase out hazardous chemicals from the things they sell.
Researchers tested more than 200 products – including consumer goods, cans of food, and microwave popcorn containers – bought in Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico, Washington, Maine, Texas, and Ontario (Canada) for what they call “chemicals of concern.” These are substances which, “due to their inherent hazardous properties,” according to the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, “present a known or reasonably suspected risk to human health and/or the environment.” (For a look at other concerns, these are the most contaminated foods you can buy at the grocery store.)
Their findings were shocking: more than half of the products tested contained those potentially hazardous chemicals. Perhaps most disconcertingly, many of the most toxic products are geared toward children. Some contained lead and phthalates, which are associated with higher rates of childhood cancer. Others contained PVC, which can contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals and can harm reproductive and cognitive development. Food cans and microwave popcorn packaging contained BPAs (an endocrine disruptor) and PFAS, which has been associated with a wide range of health effects.
Dollar stores offer many kinds of goods, sometimes major brands, at bargain prices – but if what you’re buying is potentially dangerous, they’re not such a good deal after all. (These, on the other hand, are things you should always buy at a dollar store.)