81% of Dollar Store Products Contain Chemicals Linked to Learning Disabilities-Misleading!
Summary of eRumor:
A study has found that 81 percent of dollar store products contain unsafe levels of chemicals linked to learning disabilities.
Misleading reports that 81 percent of dollar store products contain excessive levels of chemicals linked to learning disabilities are based on a largely misinterpreted 2015 study.
The study, “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” was led by the Campaign for Healthier Solutions. Organized as a consortium of groups advocating for chemical policy reform, the group tested hundreds of dollar store products.
We can’t report on the accuracy of the group’s chemical testing, or the accuracy of its findings. But we can confirm that the study’s findings have been misrepresented to forge a false narrative that all dollar store products are unsafe for children.
81% of Dollar Store Products Chemical Claims: Mixing and Matching Standards
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sets minimum mandatory safety standards for varying consumer products. Toys and children’s products are subject to the CSPC “toy safety standard.” There are different safety standards for other products.
The Campaign for a Healthier Solutions study subjected non-toy products to the more stringent “toy safety standard.” The reasoning, according to the report, was that children often come into contact with products not intended for children:
…Although most of the products tested would not be considered as “children’s products” under CPSC regulations, the CPSC standard serves as an important benchmark because these products could still expose children to the toxic phthalates in homes, schools, or vehicles.
And the study goes a step further. It didn’t’ merely compare non-children’s products to the minimum toy safety standard. It compared non-toy products to the voluntary toy safety standard — which is even broader:
…We found that 81% of the dollar store products tested (133 of 164) contained at least one hazardous chemical above levels of concern compared to existing voluntary toy standards and mandatory toy packaging and electronics standards.
CSPC voluntary safety standards ensure that manufacturers take into account standards that might be relevant to their products. A company designing a corded phone, for example, might look to the toy safety standard for useful guidance. Although not a mandatory requirement, the manufacturer could voluntarily use the toy safety standard to determine a safe cord length.
The group’s rationale for using the broader standard is that the minimum toy safety standard doesn’t provide enough protection. That may or may not be true — but it’s led to confusion about what, exactly, the tests reveal about dollar store products.
Are Dollar Store Products Safe? Bringing it All Together
There are a range of chemicals know to cause learning disabilities in children. And our determination that this rumor is “misleading” reflects reporting about the 2015 — not findings of the 2015 study itself.
The issue is that various online publications have falsely or misleadingly reported that 81 percent of all products sold at dollar store contain unsafe levels of chemicals linked to learning disabilities. In reality, the study found that a large percentage of non-children’s products failed to meet voluntary toy safety standards.
CSPC has not said that these products are unsafe, or that they should meet that standard.