Dollar stores across the United States and Canada sell products that contain a large number of toxic chemicals, including toys, according to a new study published April 12.
The study was conducted by the consumer advocacy group, Campaign for Health Solutions, and focused on all of the leading dollar store retailers in the United States and Canada: Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Five Below and 99 Cents Only Stores.
It found that more than half of the items the researchers bought in stores contained one or more chemicals of concern.
At the beginning of 2021, researchers bought 226 products from stores across Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico, Washington, Maine and Texas in the United States and Ontario in Canada. In total, the products contained 635 unique components or substances.
The products were then tested using different methods depending on the typical chemicals of concern for that specific type of product.
In all, the researchers found that more than half (53 percent) of the products examined contained one or more “chemicals of concern” that are considered hazardous.
This included canned food goods that contain toxic interior coatings, including BPA-based epoxy, a type of polymer, PVC can body coatings, and microwave popcorn products whose contents have tested 100 percent positive for PFAS coatings, which are commonly applied to the metal to prevent it from corroding, among other things.
The researchers also found products at dollar stores that were made from flexible PVC that had been “banned, regulated, or inadequately studied,” consumer electronics containing lead solder, flame retardants, phthalate plasticizers, and a number of products containing “other chemicals.” “Concern” compounds including antimony, organotin, and bromine, which are corrosive to human tissue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Even more alarming, researchers have found toxic metals, endocrine disruptors and other harmful chemicals in store-bought toys.
One such product included a musical toy car sold at the Dollar Tree in Texas that contained 174,000ppm of lead, another item, a pair of lip toy toys sold at Dollar General in California, was made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a A major source of phthalates. A range of chemicals used to make plastics such as bottles, garden hoses and medical tubes are more durable.
While it is not yet clear what the long-term effects of exposure to phthalates will be, a 2021 study found that they can be “detrimental to the reproductive, neurological, and developmental systems of humans from multiple exposure pathways.”
Furthermore, the study found that children are at greater risk of exposure to phthalates.
Another product purchased from the Five Below Store in Maine, Disney-inspired headphones, have TDCIPP (Tris Chlorinated) flame retardants in the headphone foam, and 656,000ppm of lead in the solder.
Exposure to TDCIPP can increase the risk of cancer in humans.
Even store receipts were tested by researchers and found to contain “chemicals of concern,” including BPA, which has been found to disrupt hormones in humans.
“As a parent, I should be able to purchase a product without expecting to poison my child,” Jose Bravo, national coordinator for the Health Solutions campaign, told The Guardian.
The study comes as the dollar store industry continues to expand rapidly across the United States, and at a time when the country is grappling with historical inflation levels.
Of the 7,300 retail stores that opened in 2020 and 2021, 43 percent were dollar stores, according to CNN Money.
“Many families rely on dollar stores to purchase affordable toys and other products for children,” Bravo said in a statement. “With higher profit margins, dollar stores have to do more to ensure all of these products are safe.
Randy Geller, vice president of investor relations at Dollar Tree, which also owns Family Dollar, told E&E News: “The safety of our products is a key priority for us. Our products are tested to ensure compliance with all federal and state requirements, and our testing protocols are in place to verify regulated standards. “
The Epoch Times has reached out to spokespeople for Dollar General, Five Below, and 99 Cents Only stores.