An analysis of dozens of products from discount retailers found more than 80 percent contained excessive levels of hazardous chemicals, according to a newly released report.
The report from the Campaign for Healthier Solutions — a coalition of health, community and environmental groups — included test results for 164 products found in retailers commonly called dollar stores, including toys, jewelry and household products.
Of those products tested, 133 contained at least one chemical above what the group called "levels of concern" — thresholds for hazardous chemicals established by HealthyStuff.org, a project of Michigan-based nonprofit The Ecology Center. Nearly half of the products tested contained two or more such chemicals in excess of those thresholds.
Chemicals noted in the report included lead and other metals, phthalates and polyvinyl chloride plastic.
The report also said many of the food products sold at dollar stores — which were not tested as part of the study — are processed and contain BPA.
The group noted the resulting health concerns could disproportionately affect low-income populations and communities of color, who are often served by dollar stores already operating in areas of high pollution or in "food deserts" — large urban and rural areas without access to nutritious, affordable food.
"People struggling to make ends meet are confined to shopping at the Dollar stores," said CHS National Coordinator José Bravo. "We are already disproportionately affected by pollution and lack of adequate medical care, and now we know we may be filling our homes and our bodies with chemicals released from Dollar store products. This needs to stop."
Family Dollar — one of the largest such chains — responded that it complies with all applicable laws and that most of its sales come from "national brand items from leading manufacturers," particularly mentioning Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson and Clorox.
Another chain, Dollar General, said its suppliers are required to certify that their products conform to federal and local regulations.