On July 1, activists gathered at dollar stores nationally to declare their “independence” from toxic chemicals, after a report earlier this year suggested products sold by these discount chains could be hurting consumers.
To produce the report, issued in February by Environmental Justice for All’s Campaign for Healthier Solutions, researchers tested 164 products from multiple discount chain stores nationwide and found that 133 contained “at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern,” meaning that 81% of tested products were hazardous. These include chemicals identified to be carcinogenic, capable of causing developmental disabilities in children, or were otherwise found at levels considered toxic. Unlike major chains like Wal-Mart and Target, no major dollar store chain has a formal policy on selling or disclosing toxic ingredients in products.
In Austin, Texas, the campaign partnered with local activists from Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TEJAS) and Texas Campaign for the Environment. Dressed in white hazardous material-handling suits, they gathered in front of a Family Dollar store on the south side of the city to chant and hold protest signs and banners.