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Environmentalists Protest Dollar Stores Toxic Inventory

July 2, 2015
fd-protest1KLBJ Newsroom

Austin environmentalists are targeting those Dollar stores you see around town and throughout the state. They protested in front of a Family Dollar store in South Austin. They say low-income families and communities of color are getting sick from toxic products bought there.

According to Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Andrew Dobbs, over 71 percent of the products from the four leading dollar store chains in Texas they had lab tested, contained at least one or more hazardous chemicals. Dobbs says the four big dollar chains, including Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and Just 99 Cents Stores, earn an estimated $36 billion dollars annually and will sometimes sell expired, discontinued merchandise and recalled products. Dobbs says the stores also sell products with hazardous plasticizers and hormone disrupters.

Those substances have been linked to learning disabilities, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses that disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color.

“Here at Family Dollar,” Dobbs explains, “they were selling a set of earrings. They could be marketed towards children, but they’re just low-dollar earrings with a cardboard backing. Those had 65 times the safe level of lead in them. according to independent laboratory tests.”

Dobbs claims the dollar stores could clean up their act without wrecking their bottom lines.

“There are safer alternatives to every one of these chemicals that are no more expensive than the ones they’re using today.” Dobbs goes on to say “They might have to be slightly more conscientious, but it shouldn’t cost them any more money.” He points to the actions of other retailers. “Their competitors including Wal-Mart are starting to make moves in the right direction. If Wal-Mart and Target and a variety of other retailers can do this, they can too.”



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