San Diego, CA—During the busy holiday shopping season, concerned customers and activists alerted dollar store visitors to dangerous chemicals found in some products. Activists then met with store managers at over 80 Dollar Tree and Family Dollar store locations in 20 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada to ask for transparent and more protective chemical safety policies.
Coordinated by the Campaign for Healthier Solutions, these concerned dollar store shoppers handed out fliers, spoke with other customers, and in some cases held demonstrations before meeting with store managers and delivering a letter to Dollar Tree executives. Spurred by studies showing hazardous chemicals are commonly found in many dollar store products (summary and report, BPA in canned food) and a failure to respond to these concerns compared to competing chains (retailer comparison), these activists seek to pressure the chain into more protective and transparent chemical safety policies to support the health of children and families across North America
“This busy holiday shopping season, we’re visiting Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores from coast-to-coast across the nation to say shoppers want safe and healthy products—not products laden with toxic chemicals,” said Jose Bravo, Coordinator of the Campaign for Healthier Solutions. He continued; “Every family deserves safe and healthy products—no matter where they can afford to do their holiday shopping—and Dollar Tree shoppers both deserve and expect executives from one of their favorite stores to demonstrate greater corporate responsibility and take more action to protect the health of customers and their families.”
“Dollar Tree and Family Dollar host millions of holiday shoppers each year–but some shoppers aren’t aware that products sold at dollar stores may contain hazardous chemicals linked to cancers, learning and developmental disabilities, asthma, and other chronic health problems,” said Tracy Gregoire, an advocate with the Learning Disabilities Association of America. She continued; “Families on tight budgets often rely on dollar stores for everything from cleaning supplies to children’s toys—but cheaper products shouldn’t jeopardize your child’s health. Dollar Tree should catch up to other major retailers and offer more transparent and protective chemical safety policies.”
“Although I wasn’t shocked, I was saddened to learn that many dollar store products were found to contain hazardous chemicals at levels which might harm children—especially when combined with exposures to toxic air pollution, unhealthy foods, and other sources of environmental contamination many families face,” said Bahati Ansari, an activist with Los Jardines Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a frequent dollar store shopper. She continued; “People of color and poor families are often dealing with disproportionate exposure to hazardous chemicals and pollution, along with the disproportionate health impacts resulting from these exposures—and the idea that these families may be further harmed as they look for products and holiday supplies they can afford is deeply troubling.”
Full product testing results and methodology can be found here: http://www.ecocenter.org/healthy-stuff/reports/dollar-store-report
Photos for use with articles are available upon request.
The Campaign for Healthier Solutions is a diverse coalition of over 100 environmental justice, medical, public health, community, and women’s organizations working with discount retailers toward responsible hazardous chemical policies and better corporate citizenship.
Jose Bravo; Director, Just Transition Alliance; National Coordinator, Campaign for Healthier Solutions; (619) 838-6694, firstname.lastname@example.org. Jose works with communities contaminated with chemicals, which occurs mostly where low income people of color are living, although everyone is at risk. Habla Espanol.