Dollar stores are great for your budget. For families with kids in college, small kids in day care, or those struggling from paycheck to paycheck, the dollar store can be a blessing! In fact, the dollar stores are becoming so successful that they are bypassing traditional grocery stores and box stores in terms of sales.
However, recent studies have shown that some items often found at the dollar store are toxic - containing chemical hazards. Since the publication of the report, the CEOs of these stores have made some changes to their product mix. However, since they do operate on a business model of purchasing the most inexpensive items and reselling them cheaper than other retailers, there is probably a limited amount of action they will take. Because many dollar store products can be toxic, it’s important to skip some of the most dangerous items:
1. Plastic kitchen utensils
Cheap spatulas and other plastic kitchen tools are often made with bromine in order to keep the items flame-retardant. Unfortunately, this means bromine gets into the foods we cook when we use the utensils. Bromine is extremely toxic to your health and has been linked to cancers and developmental delays.
2. Vitamins and other nutritional supplements
When it comes to dollar-store brand vitamins, the fact is you are probably purchasing cardboard. Or powdered rice. Or anything but what is on the label. In fact, they could contain wheat or peanuts even if they state they’re wheat and nut free. For someone who is allergic, this could be the difference between life and death.
If you can find a brand-name medication at the dollar store at a better price, go for it! But check the expiration date first. In some cases, the products end up at the dollar store because they have expired. However, off-brand medications found at the dollar stores could be hazardous to your health. If the ingredients are different or if they are manufactured in China, you’re best to simply skip it and move on to something more reliable. China has had many issues with counterfeit goods and quality control and medications made in China are not an exception.
Generic brand makeup at a dollar store often contains phthalates. These are endocrine disruptors that can negatively affect the body’s natural hormonal cycles. They have also been linked to ADHD, asthma, allergies and learning disabilities.
5. Children’s jewelry
Children’s jewelry sold at the dollar store usually contains lead. Since there’s no amount of lead considered safe for children, it’s best to skip these items altogether. When a child wears jewelry containing lead, they can easily ingest lead by placing the item in their mouth or scratching a finger. Lead can lead to brain damage and slower development. In addition, much of the children’s jewelry is made of recycled plastic, which means they may also contain bromine.
The next time you go shopping at the dollar store, pick up the items you need, but skip the five items above to do your part and keep your family safe.