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10 Things You Should Never Buy At The Dollar Store

Dollar stores — discount retailers that sell inexpensive household items — might seem like an ideal place to find bargains. But although many items cost just a dollar, not every product is a steal.

That’s not to say you can’t find worthwhile buys at discount stores, but it’s always important to do your research before you shop so you’re not duped into buying items that either lack quality or are simply not the best deal.

DON’T BUY: Electronics. Anything with a cable that connects to a power source. Just avoid them completely so you don’t have to worry about damaging your expensive electronics at home or burning your house down. It might sound paranoid, but the stats are in and they’re not looking good. The U.S Consumer Safety Committee has been warning people about the dangers of buying low-quality dollar store electronics…since 1999! Electronics can be pricey, but there’s also a reason for that. When purchasing electronics, it’s best to make the transaction from an actual electronic retailer or online store rather than risking it for that “unbeatable” price. Even with more and more people becoming aware of the dangers of dollar store electronics, incidents continue to happen. More recent warnings have highlighted products that most people wouldn’t assume to be hazardous including holiday mini lights and portable heaters. However, these dangers aren’t just limited to products that light up and electronic gadgets.

The warnings extend to USB cables, chargers, extension cords and really anything in (and out) of the electronics aisle. A study showed that cheap cables found in dollar stores tested positive for chlorine. It’s a sign that they’re made with PVC, a chemical known to have caused cancer in the people working at the factories where these products are made.

DON’T BUY: Certain plastics. The keyword is “certain” and I’ll explain why. Dollar store toys have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a long time now. The reasons include a high content of lead and small pieces that break off easily, creating a choking hazard. Plus, anything that breaks easily isn’t the best for toddlers.

Another plastic you shouldn’t buy at the dollar store: cooking utensils. The plastic cooking utensils sold at most of these stores might contain bromine, a flame retardant and known carcinogen. According to the National Institute of Environmental Sciences, bromine, and any brominated flame retardant (BFR), is also linked to birth defects and neurological problems.

DON’T BUY: Beauty, skin and hair products. Most of the negative reviews on the known brand products aren’t about health or safety concerns, they’re about the durability of the brands. Consumers have found that brand beauty, skin, and hair products sold at the dollar store cost less, but they include a lot less product than their grocery store counterparts.

The myth that the dollar store sells you expired food and consumables is strong…and a lie. The real concern comes from the lesser known off-brands. A report by the Ecology Center found low levels of antimony in some of the eyeshadows in L.A. Colors, a known dollar store makeup brand. This chemical is—you guessed it!—a known carcinogen.