A huge number of products sold at dollar stores contain harmful chemicals. A study on various products, including toys, electronics and food, found that many contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other harmful chemicals. 

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Researchers behind the study tested 226 products purchased from five of the most popular dollar stores. They tested the products for various chemicals, including lead, phthalates and PFAS. Findings showed that over half of the products tested contained at least one harmful chemical. Baby toys and Disney-themed headphones are among the products that returned positive results for these chemicals.

Related: Hemp is helping clean up PFAS chemicals in Maine

The Campaign for Healthier Solutions has called on dollar stores to phase out such harmful products. Jose Bravo, the coalition’s national coordinator, said the findings should concern any parent whose children might interact with such products. “As a parent, I should be able to buy a product without expecting to poison my child,” said Bravo.

Some of the chemicals found by researchers have proven detrimental health effects. For instance, phthalates are associated with high rates of childhood cancer. The researchers also found polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which can disrupt reproductive and cognitive development, in some products. Such chemicals could directly harm children.

“There are known substitutes for these hormone-disrupting chemical hazards,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director of Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab, the group that conducted the testing. “The fact that they continue to be used in these low cost products that dollar stores sell is a real problem.”

The study also revealed concerning chemicals in canned foods sold by dollar stores. Many goods tested were coated in BPA, an endocrine disruptor that leaks into foods and drinks. The dangerous, non-biodegradable PFAS used in nonstick pans were also found in some products. PFAS are associated with conditions such as thyroid disease and cancer.

Currently, the U.S. is home to well over 34,000 dollar stores. Most of these stores sell inexpensive products sourced from overseas. Although some dollar stores have regulations to end the sale of such products, many others fall behind. The two leading dollar stores, Dollar General and Dollar Tree, have banned products that contain potentially harmful chemicals. The Campaign for Healthier Solutions now wants all the other dollar stores to follow suit.

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Pexels