It's probably a little known fact that 'dollar stores' - those ubiquitous weird stores that have a little bit of everything and with prices at just one buck - are actually more numerous in the United States than Walmarts.
In fact, according to a report to be released next week, dollar stores are often the only ones selling essential household goods, including food, in some rural towns and urban neighborhoods.
The new report, prepared by the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, found that the vast majority of dollar store products tested contain toxic chemicals linked to learning disabilities, cancer, diabetes and and other illnesses.
To test the dollar stores' inventories researchers used hand-held detectors and also sent some products for lab testing.
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions is asking the dollar stores (the four largest chains of dollar stores are Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 99-Cents Only) to start to phase out the products with the most dangerous levels of chemicals, to help protect community health.
Their list of 'asks' includes:
- Immediate removal of children’s products found to contain regulated phthalates and lead from store shelves, and from storage and distribution systems.
- Commitment to phase out phthalates, lead, and PVC (vinyl) from all products they sell.
- Adoption of comprehensive corporate chemical management policies and removal of hazardous chemicals (starting with the Hazardous 100+) from supply chains and from products, beginning with house brands.
Companies ignore these consumer demands at their own peril - the Campaign said that Sigg suffered brand damage when it was found that its reusable drink canister liners contained BPA and eventually declared bankruptcy in the U.S.
Funders of the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, which is a new group, include: the John Merck Fund; the Sills Family Foundation; The Fine Fund; the Cornell Douglas Foundation; and the Park Foundation.
When the site launches on February 4, consumers can see exactly which chemicals were found in which products by visiting www.nontoxicdollarstores.org.