You know her from “Proof” and remember her from “The L Word” and “Flashdance,” but today actress Jennifer Beals is an activist, working with the Campaign for Healthier Solutions to get toxic chemicals like PVC and other phthalates out of dollar stores. According to her video, discount retailers–better known as “dollar stores”–are operated by four major chains: Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only. Together, they operate over 21,500 U.S. stores, making the dollar store network larger than Walmart. And their total annual sales are more than $36 billion!
Yet unlike Walmart, Costco and Target, which are working towards disclosing and eliminating toxic chemicals, a new testing of dollar stores found serious problems. Here’s Beals’ extremely personal take on the problem:
Did you catch all that? Let me break it down for you.
81% of the products tested (133 of 164) contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern.
38% of the products tested (63 of 164) contained the toxic plastic PVC (vinyl).
32% of vinyl products tested for phthalates (12 of 38) contained levels of regulated phthalates above the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) limit for children’s products.
71% of the products tested from each dollar store chain contained one or more hazardous chemicals above levels of concern.
This is doubly alarming because many dollar stores are located in low-income communities of color, where toxic chemical exposures are already disproportionately high. As Beals says, “When I was a kid, I often went to dollar stores in my neighborhood because my family didn’t have enough money to shop elsewhere, and I know millions of American families are in the same boat.”
Will you join me and click through to sign Jennifer Beals’ petition to get toxic chemicals out of dollar stores? Thanks!