11 Hazardous Items No One Should Ever Buy at Dollar Stores

Eunice Park | Aug 1, 2016 Healthy Living
11 Hazardous Items No One Should Ever Buy at Dollar Stores

That $1 trinket for a child -- or kitchen -- may seem like a good find at the time, but revealing information makes us want to toss it out. Yes, that unbeatable price tag for that sparkly toy really may be too good to be true. When it comes to health and safety, many of these fun dollar deals are actually hazardous to our families' health. What some of them are made of is completely scary! And no matter how low the price, we think they're so not worth the potential risks.

According to a recent study conducted by consumer testing group Healthy Stuff and Campaign for Healthier Futures, a high number of these items contain hazardous chemicals such as chloride, lead, bromine, and phthalates that are linked to cancer, infertility, diabetes, learning disabilities, and asthma. (Whoa! Who knew?)

More from CafeMom: 4 Dangerous Toxins in Everyday Products We Will Never Use Again

We found 11 toxic items that we've all purchased in the past (who can say no to princess wands and super cheap phone cables?) that everyone will want to avoid buying at dollar stores.

After reading about what may be lurking in these products, we believe spending a little bit extra when shopping for them is totally worth it. We hope all dollar stores will eventually clean up their act, but until then, we're skipping the dollar store versions of these 11 items and opting for products made by companies more transparent in what they use to make their items. Read on to check out what made the list.


Image via iStock.com/clu

  • Artificial Nails

    Image via iStock.com/Olaf Speier

    Don't be fooled by pretty colors and patterns and the $1 price tag. Artificial nails tested very high in chlorine, an indicator that this product was made with a plastic called polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. PVC has been linked to long-term health impacts such as birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer, according to Healthy Stuff. 

  • Princess Wands

    Image via iStock.com/skodonnell

    Not many little girls can resist a sparkly princess wand, but there are reasons to avoid them from the dollar store. These wands have tested for high levels of chlorine, chromium, and tin, chemicals that are carcinogenic and linked to asthma. 

  • Plastic Spoons

    Image via iStock.com/Norasit Kaewsai

    A box of plastic spoons may be a bargain for $1, but this cheap version tested for chlorine and tin, substances you would not want to put in your kids' mouth -- or your own.

    More from CafeMom: 13 Grocery Store Staples Experts Say to Skip Buying Forever 

  • Bath Toys

    Plastic Ducks
    Image via iStock.com/clu

    While it's tempting to buy inexpensive bath toys to entertain your child in the bath, these toys at the dollar store have tested very high for chloride -- studies have linked this chemical to cancer. Spend a little extra money and get bath toys that are cute and safe.   

  • Inflatable Toys

    Image via iStock.com/pepifoto

    Everyone loves inflatable toys, but unfortunately the ones at dollar stores tested high for chlorine and lead. When looking for inflatables, make sure they are PVC free -- or buy ones with alternative materials such as foam.

  • Mini Indoor Lights

    Image via iStock.com/-slav-

    These pretty indoor lights may not be so enchanting when you learn that they tested for high levels of bromine, chlorine, chromium, and lead. Exposure to bromine severely impacts the thyroid gland and can cause hormonal issues. The light strings are coated in lead, a chemical linked to neurodevelopmental disorders in children -- you probably don't want your kids hanging up these lights.  

    More from CafeMom: 10 'Kid-Friendly' Snacks Nutritionists Won't Feed Their Own Kids 

  • Placemats

    Image via iStock.com/ajafoto

    Plastic placemats may seem like a good buy for a buck -- we admit they make cleaning up easier -- but placemats tested high in chloride. It's unlikely that you want to be eating off a mat made with materials linked to birth defects, diabetes, learning and developmental delays, endometriosis, and immune system abnormalities. 

  • Electronic Accessories

    Image via iStock.com/vitsirisukodom

    You can never have too many cell phone chargers, but don't let the $1 price tag sway you to stock up on them from dollar stores. These USB charging cords, cell phone charger cables, and other electronic accessories tested in high in chlorine, which means they were probably made with polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Too toxic!

  • Silly Straws

    Image via iStock.com/BWFolsom

    Silly straws are fun and provide kid-drinking fun, but these straws tested high in chlroine and DEHP, a phthalate that's used to soften plastic. It can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, according to Health Care Without Harm. Stick to regular straws -- and silly drinks. 

    More from CafeMom: Stop Eating Cookie Dough ... Forever (F'Reals This Time)

  • Nonslip Bathmats

    Image via iStock.com/venusphoto

    Those convenient bathmats are great in the bath tub, but risky when it comes to your health. These nonslip bathmats tested high in phthalates and chlorine. Studies of certain phthalates have links to cancer, thyroid, and kidney diseases. 

  • Reusable Gloves

    Image via iStock.com/Kuzma

    Reusable gloves come in handy when dealing with messes, but these gloves from dollar stores tested high in chlorine. You're better off spending a little more money and picking up reusable gloves at a drug or grocery store.

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