10 Things to Never, Ever Buy at the Dollar Store

These are the toxic goods to avoid.


Love it or hate it, the dollar store remains an undying aspect of American culture that rakes in nearly $36 billion dollars in annual profits, expanding faster than any other retailer on the market (even the monster that is Walmart). It’s unsurprising that the business has been booming for over half a century when it carries everything one could ever need in life for an economy-friendly price. Buying school supplies in bulk for your kids? Need wrapping paper and a card to put together a last-minute gift? Check and check.

With the mass Dollar Tree openings across the Philadelphia region and beyond, the temptation to make this discount retailer your new go-to pitstop for party decor, college dorm staples and even an alternative to the grocery store is high. The bad news? Many of the products on the shelves are as toxic as they are cheap.

According to recent toxicity tests conducted by Healthy Stuff, nearly 81 percent of all dollar store products tested contained hazardous levels of lead (yikes), PVC, and other unsafe chemicals.

Some of the products that rank highest on the list include electronic accessories like USB cords and phone chargers, many of which are made of PVC, a chemical that has been linked to cancer. You’re best to get these at Best Buy or the Apple store (Apple’s charger cords don’t contain PVC). And when it comes to kitchen utensils, stay away from those black plastic spatulas and spoons, which were found to contain high levels of fire-resistant bromine, which can cause cancer and birth defects.

Some items already seemed a bit iffy side (Christmas ornaments and the aforementioned electronics), but you might be surprised to find things like kid’s jewelry, Mardi-Gras beads and silly straws on the list. Head here for a full list so you can shop smart.