According to a new study from The Campaign for Healthier Solutions, many of the dollar stores that make up the $36 billion industry contain products rampant with toxic chemicals often associated with birth defects, learning disabilities, and cancer. The study looked at over 164 products.
Here are the statistics they found:
81% of the products tested (133 of 164) contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern compared to existing voluntary toy standards and mandatory toy, packaging and electronics standards.
38% of the products tested (63 of 164) contained the toxic plastic PVC (vinyl).
32% of vinyl products tested for phthalates (12 of 38) contained levels of regulated phthalates above the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limit for children’s products.
At least 71% of the products tested from each dollar store chain contained one or more hazardous chemicals above levels of concern.
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions has over 100 organizations from across the United States on board with its mission, asking discount retailers to adopt more stringent and transparent policies about chemical use and disclosure — in addition to replacing the toxic chemicals in products with safer alternatives. And while some dollar store chains have taken initial steps by addressing and disclosing information about these toxic chemicals as far as the voluntary regulations dictate, it isn’t comprehensive enough. A lack of disclosure does nothing more than keep the consumer uneducated and therefore unable to fully consider all the risks of the products they buy. Bigger chains like WalMart and Target have not only taken steps to apply stricter safety laws to their products, but they’ve gone even further than the requirements set forth by law (unlike their dollar store competitors).
The thing that makes it more frustrating, though? The fact that there would be far more outrage and response to the matter if these stores served communities that weren’t low-income. And it’s not like people in the lower classes don’t already have enough to stress about, considering they’re already disproportionately exposed to chemical hazards.