February 11, 2015

The Dollar Store: The Cheapest Way to Hurt Your Health

For some, the dollar store is a place for frugal treasure hunts to find satisfyingly cheap tchotchkes. For others, it offers necessities and a way to furnish their homes with the cheapest stuff possible. But either way you look at it, the scary truth is that the store's cheap goods have a hidden cost: your health. tested 164 products from Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and 99 Cents Only, looking for antimony, arsenic, bromine, chlorine, lead, mercury, tin, and phthalates. Turns out, you're buying a lot more than you bargained for when you hand over that dollar.
More than 80 percent of the products tested contained at least one hazardous material at concerning levels; nearly half of the products tested positive for at least two toxins. Of products containing vinyl plastic (38 percent), 32 percent contained phthalates above the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's limits for children's products. points out that, combined, these stores have $36 billion in sales and more locations than Walmart. "People struggling to make ends meet are confined to shopping at the dollar stores," says JosĂ© 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."
You can check out the full report here, but here are some of the worst offenders:
99 Cents Only
• Cancer Awareness Accessories HOPE distributed by Royal Deluxe Accessories, LLC: In a cruel twist of irony, this cancer-awareness necklace is high in chlorine, and is a medium threat for chromium and tin.
• 5pc Formula Car by Momentum Brands: Toys shouldn't be as dangerous as their real-life counterparts, but these mini cars are high in bromine and chlorine.
• Fashion Doll by Momentum Brands: This repeat offender also makes a doll that's high in chlorine from her head to her pink shoes.
Family Dollar
• Earrings by Mix & Co: This set of 9 earrings with colorful centers and textured edges is manufactured by Midwood Brands, LLC. It contains 6,500 parts per million (ppm) chlorine and is also high in lead.
• Vinyl Floor Runner by Interiors by Design: The amount of toxins will make you stagger—418,500 ppm chlorine, plus three types of phthalates: DiNP (19 percent),DEHP (3 percent), and DiDP (3 percent).
• Bath Tub Appliques by Interiors by Design: High in chlorine and phthalates, these bath stickies are making you dirtier than when you first stepped into the shower. 
Dollar General
• Headbands distributed by Dolgencorp, LLC: The cost of a cute accessory shouldn't be exposure to chlorine and phthalates.
• Green and Pink Flip Flops by Coppertone: We've had our issues with sunblock in the past, but the sunscreen company has made something that may be worse, flip-flops high in chlorine.
• 50 Mini Indoor Light by Holiday Style: showed that Christmas decorations can be especially toxic. Buy them at a dollar store, and you'll be decking the halls with bromine and chlorine.
Dollar Tree
• Silly Straws distributed by Greenbrier International, LLC: What makes this find even scarier is that it's touching your food and your mouth, and no one wants to be sipping on chlorine and phthalates.
• Ultimate Spider-Man Dog Tags by Marvel: Spider-Man is supposed to protect people, not make them sick. But this toy necklace is high in bromine, chlorine, and lead.
• Pencil Pouch by jot: High in chlorine and phthalates, your school supplies might be undoing all that hard work in class, as studies have linked phthalates to lower IQ in kids.

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