Metal store

Toxic metals and ‘eternal chemicals’ found in dollar store products in Canada

An analysis of some products sold at dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Dollarama in Canada found them to contain toxic heavy metals as well as “eternal chemicals”, referring to “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances” ( PFA) which tend to stay in soil, atmosphere and rainwater for a long time.

The study, published by Environmental Defense, was performed on products purchased at the two Toronto stores in 2021. Researchers tested bags of microwaveable popcorn from Dollar Tree, can liners from Dollarama , household items, electronics, toys, and thermal cash register receipts from both heavy metal, PVC, PFA, bisphenol, and phthalate reserves.

The analysis found that at least one in four products tested contained toxic chemicals, the organization said in its report. This figure was 30% for Dollar Tree products and 25% for Dollarama items.

All cash receipts contained bisphenol-S (BPS), an organic compound known to potentially increase the expression of breast cancer carcinogens. BPS has also been linked to impaired neural function, insulin resistance, and irregular vascular function in children.

All cans tested contained toxic chemicals, with 60% containing BPA and 40% containing PVC and polyester resin. Exposure to BPA can have negative effects on prostate and brain health in children, infants and babies in utero. All of the microwave popcorn packages tested contained PFAs.

Children’s products

Products aimed at children were identified as containing high levels of heavy metals in hidden components, which the report said were not regulated as external components – a loophole that was exploited by stores.

For example, components hidden in earphones have lead levels 8,000 times higher than the outer metal limit. In activity trackers, it was 2,600 times the limit.

This lack of regulation for internal lead in children’s products fails to recognize the actual use scenario of such items such as children sucking or chewing on the items, which exposes them to toxicity. Dollar stores are taking advantage of this loophole in regulations to sell items containing high levels of lead without breaking any laws, the report said.

“Toxic chemicals have no place in our homes. Children’s products, in particular, must not contain highly toxic heavy metals such as lead,” the report states. Previous studies of dollar stores in the United States have also shown similar risks.

Dollarama’s response

In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times, a Dollarama spokesperson said the report included “numerous incorrect assumptions.”

“The four Dollarama products identified in the report (stereo headphones, headphones, pencil case and activity tracker) all comply with applicable Canadian product regulations and are safe to use for their intended purpose. Our cash receipts, also identified in the report, are BPA-free and safe to handle by our employees and customers.

A study published this year collected 226 items from seven US states and Ontario, Canada. The items included 22 microwave popcorn wrappers, 33 cans, 28 store purchase receipts, and more. The study found that 53% of the products tested contained one or more chemicals of concern (COCs).

Sixty-six percent of items from Five Below, 60 percent from Dollar Tree, 49 percent from Family Dollar, 44 percent from 99 Cents Only, and 38 percent of items from Dollar General that were tested contained COCs above above screening level.


Naveen Athrappully is a reporter who covers world affairs and events at The Epoch Times.