On Wednesday, Feb. 4, over 100 health, community, and environmental justice organizations around the country will be coming together as the “Campaign for Healthier Solutions” to release a new report about toxic chemicals found in products sold at Dollar stores. Release of the report – A Day Late and a Dollar Short – coincides with the launch of a national campaign calling on Dollar store chains to stop the sale of products with hazardous chemicals to communities of color and low-income families, who already live in more polluted areas and “food deserts;” and to adopt business practices that keep both customers and their businesses safe.
The four largest Dollar store chains — including Family Dollar (tentatively acquired by Dollar Tree on January 22), Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and 99-Cents Only — combined have sales totaling over $36 billion and operate more stores nationally than Walmart. Dollar stores are often the only store selling essential household goods, including food, in many rural towns and urban neighborhoods, leaving many customers with no other option. The new report found that the vast majority of Dollar store products tested contained toxic chemicals linked to learning disabilities, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses.
There is a growing movement by mainstream retail and manufacturing brands – including Target and Walmart – to respond to consumer demand for safer productswith publicly-available corporate policies that identify, disclose, and replace priority toxic chemicals in broad categories of the products they sell. By failing to address toxic chemicals through comprehensive policies, Dollar chains are not only putting their customers at risk, they are exposing their businesses to the fate of companies like Mattel, which lost 18% of its value after recalling toys with lead paint, and Sigg USA, which went bankrupt after failing to disclose toxic BPA in its water bottles.