In 2015, Healthy Stuff teamed up with the Campaign for Healthier Solutions and tested 164 products from four major dollar stores. The results showed that the majority (81%) of the products contained at least one toxic chemical such as antimony, arsenic, bromine, chlorine, lead, mercury and tin.
Products formulated with polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) were tested twice and results showed that 32% of them contained toxic phthalates above the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) limit.
These hazardous chemicals have been linked to cancer, asthma, kidney diseases, birth defects and other serious health complications. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, here's a list of items you should avoid buying from the dollar store:
1. Silly Straws
Dollar store silly straws tested for high levels of DEHP, a phthalate used to soften plastic. Some phthalates have been linked to allergies, asthma, diabetes, prostate and testicular cancer. The CPSC bans DEHP and other harmful phthalates from children's products, but silly straws aren't marketed for children so legally there is no restriction on their DEHP content.
2. Steering Wheel Cover
Dollar stores usually have a wide selection of steering wheel covers in a variety of prints and textures, but don't let the attractive designs fool you. Tests have shown that certain steering wheel covers contain higher than normal levels of chlorine and phthalates. Medium levels of antimony, a natural occurring metal that could possibly be a carcinogenic, were also detected.
3. Plastic Utensils
These hard plastic kitchen utensils from dollar stores tend to contain high levels of bromine. Although this is supposed to make them flame resistant, it has been linked to birth defects, slow brain development in children and cancer. Brominated flame retardants (BFR) have been banned in the U.S., but suppliers use recycled material, which usually contain BFRs, to manufacture their products. When it comes to utensils, stainless steel is the way to go.
4. Jewelry and Hair Accessories
Many metal and plastic jewelry and hair accessories from discount retailers are composed of large amounts of lead and bromine, both of which are hazardous to one's health. Jeff Gearhart, research director of Healthy Stuff, estimates that "a single year's inventory of Mardi Gras beads may contain up to 900,000 pounds of hazardous flame retardants and 10,000 pounds of lead." What's even more alarming is that many of these dangerous products somehow make it past safety screening, so you're better off buying them elsewhere.
Click on the next page for more products you shouldn't buy from the dollar store including a very popular holiday product.