Dollar Store discount chains are springing up around rural areas of the country in unprecedented numbers. Consumers are happy to find low prices and easy to find products even in the boon docks of middle American. Some things consumers aren’t happy to find lurking in over 81% of all products Dollar Store sells is at least one toxic chemical that exceeds the allowed regulation limit per product.
Campaign for Healthier Solutions conducted research on over 150 products last year that showed dangerous chemicals like polyvinylchloride (PVC) in plastic products, phthalates in children’s toys, and some other products kids rings that contained heavy metals like lead.
A consumer campaign demanding nontoxic products is supported by Richard Moore with Los Jardines Institute, who lives nearby two of the stores in South Valley near Albuquerque and the International District in the southeast part of the city.
“We care about the workers inside that store that are unboxing a lot of those chemicals and stuff, and we care about us as consumers and as community members here that shop at this store,” Moore said. The consumers involved in the campaign are not yet calling for boycotts of the stores, hoping that the chain will respond appropriately.
The company claims that concerns are unfounded and that they guarantee their products. Also, that the merchandise they purchase from suppliers meet state and federal guidelines and are safe.
However, Dr. Julia Brody of Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts said, “In the United States, we really have an innocent-until-proven-guilty approach rather than a better-safe-than-sorry, which I think most families would prefer.” She further explained that, “We do end up with a lot of products on the shelf in the store that haven’t been tested for safety or that include chemicals where science is showing that we should be concerned about using them all the time.”
After taking a look at the testing done by Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Dr. Brody said that their results are consistent with what the institute is finding in studies that show many people are really exposed to carcinogens or hormone disrupters that come from toxic consumer products.
Brody stated, “I think most people aren’t aware that you can put chemicals into products in the U.S. without testing them first for safety.”
So, while we all want low prices for products, we should also be concerned about the subtle exposure to toxic chemicals that lace unregulated consumer products to a degree that damages human health. Maybe if more consumers voice their concerns, the Dollar Store corporate management will see the need to address this issue.