A new study released in late August by Environmental Protection Agency found that baby products sold at Dollarama and Dollar Tree contain heavy metals such as lead and other toxic chemicals.
The report revealed the presence of phthalates, bisphenols and “permanent chemicals” or PFAS in various foods, toys and baby products. These chemicals are particularly harmful to vulnerable people such as children.
Activity tracker and earphones for kids exceed 8,000 times the outdoor lead level for children’s products.
“Despite the tendency of these products to break open and expose their dangerous hidden components, there is a lack of regulation for lead in products,” said Cassie Barker, senior program manager for toxics at Environmental Protection. This regulatory loophole is a loophole that dollar stores use to sell products with high levels of lead without breaking the law.
According to the expert, there should be no safety limit for lead. Children’s products should not contain this dangerous substance.
According to the report, one in four products tested contained toxic chemicals, including lead in children’s products and electronics such as headphones.
All receipts tested contained bisphenol-S (BPS).
All cans tested contained toxic chemicals (60% BPA, 40% PVC and polyester resin).
All microwave popcorn packages tested contained PFAS.
Heavy metals and hazardous chemicals, even in small amounts, affect reproduction, behavior, metabolism, and chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes.
Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of these products due to their rapidly growing bodies.
Toxic exposures have been linked to lower IQ, autism spectrum and learning disabilities such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The report highlights the failure of Canada’s regulatory system to adequately protect public health, particularly populations disproportionately affected by toxic substances.
Many low-income and racialized communities already face systemic economic barriers and cannot avoid toxic exposures by choosing more expensive non-toxic alternatives.
“Ethnic and low-income communities are being targeted by low-cost retailers who, despite their own environmental and social responsibility statements, sell products loaded with ingredients harmful to these communities,” lamented Dr. Ingrid Waldron, executive director of Environmental Harm, Ethnicity. Inequalities and Community Health (ENRICH) Project, a collaborative research and community engagement project on environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities.
“We need to ensure that the retail option is accessible only to individuals and communities whose financial, geographic and socio-economic privileges allow them to opt out of these toxic exposures, providing equal protection,” he added.