More Than 80% Of Dollar Store Products Contain Toxic Chemicals

In a collaboration with the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, HealthyStuff has released a report about toxic chemicals found in dollar store products. They tested 164 dollar store products like toys, jewelry, school supplies, and various household items for their report titled A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Discount Retailers are Falling Behind on Safer Chemicals. They found that 133 of the 164, or 81%, contained at least one hazardous chemical. Not only that, but it was in concentrations that are worthy of concern.

The campaign sent a letter to the CEOs of the nation’s four largest Dollar store chains, family, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Dollar General and 99 Cents Only, urging them to cease the sales of these products with hazardous chemicals, particularly to low income families and in communities of color. These stores operate more locations that Walmart and have sales that exceed $36 billion a year.

“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 performing from a chemical hazard perspective. I am particularly concerned about the comparatively high percentage of products containing hazardous plasticizers. “

Other key findings from the report include:

  • 49% of products tested (80 of 164) contained two or more hazardous chemicals above levels of concern;
  • 38% of the products tested (63 of 164) contained the toxic plastic PVC (vinyl);
  • 32% of a subset of vinyl products tested for phthalates (12 of 38) contained levels of phthalates above the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limit for children’s products.
  • 40% of the food items sold may be in packaging containing bisphenol-A, or BPA.

From the Campaign for Healthier Solutions:

Discount Retailers immediately remove children’s products found to contain regulated phthalates and lead from store shelves; and adopt comprehensive corporate chemical management policies to identify, disclose, and remove hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and from all products in their stores, beginning with their house brands.

Local, State, and Federal Governments ensure that discount retailers comply with all relevant laws and regulations; and adopt public policies (such as Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Law and Washington’s Children’s Safe Products Act) that require manufacturers and retailers to disclose hazardous chemicals in products, research alternatives, and remove hazardous chemicals when alternatives are available, effective, and safer.

Families and Communities let Dollar store chains know that they want safer products, and join local and national efforts advocating for nontoxic products.

Complete test results are available at The full report and more information about the Campaign are available

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