Some Dishes at Dollarama Contain Lead! Don’t buy or use them!

Lead Dollarama

Wow this is shocking. I was surfing reddit when I came across a post about Dollarama selling plates that contain lead. I just don’t get it, why can’t the use of lead in mugs, dishes, glasses, etc. be banned? Lead exposure can result in serious health risks to children and adults including neurological damage.

Well at least this plate has a warning (although still not justifiable), but I wonder how many dishes out there contain lead and don’t even have a warning on them.

For the sake of your and your family’s health I strongly suggest you do some research on what’s going to be in contact with your food, and eventually your body and make sure it doesn’t pose any health risks.

62 responses to “Some Dishes at Dollarama Contain Lead! Don’t buy or use them!”

  1. kris says:

    thanks for posting. i definaately try avoiding anything you eat/drink from there! I ACTUALLY GOT A waterbottle in my stocking i decided not to use cuz it was from there.

  2. Momma O says:

    This is the reason that we don’t shop there.

  3. Angelle says:

    What is the link to the original post? I would like to share it and was not able to find anything newer that Feb 2010 in my googling.

  4. happymomy says:

    it also shows on the sticker that it contains cadmium which is a known carcinogen!!!! This is what happens when we import Cr$p from China where companies don’t care what goes into their products as long as they can sell them cheap!!

  5. TheguyRob says:

    who eats on plates with a printing on them?

  6. thatgengirl says:

    Bascially (and this is the reason I won’t buy anything from a “dollar” store) Dollarama works on the principle that all items sold are “for novelty purposes only.” Everything. Including food. It’s how they can legally import items that don’t meet current safety standards in Canada. It’s ok to sell a novelty condom with a 90% breakage rate, it’s okay to sell novelty toothpaste that is poisonous, because no one brushes their teeth with “novelty” items, right? In fact, until Decemeber 15, 2010, it was prefectly legal for stored in Canada to knowingly sell unsafe products to unsuspecting consumers.

    • Barney says:

      “it’s okay to sell novelty toothpaste that is poisonous, because no one brushes their teeth with “novelty” items, right?”

      All toothpaste with flouride in it is poisonous be cause flouride is a poison.

  7. Erin says:

    I have banned myself from that store for that reason. Although sometimes when money gets tight the suggestion to shop there is very tempting but thanks to articles like this it reminds me that my decision was right! Never shop at dollar stores!!!

  8. Erin says:

    thatgengirl, those are really scary facts. Where did you find this out? Do you have a source?

  9. Erin Docherty says:

    You know what – that really isn’t all that shocking to me. Every Dollar store that I’ve ever been to has that smell to it. It just seems like the plastic is so cheap that there has to be other toxins in the plastic, you know? And whoever actually uses those plates, cups and stuff from there needs a good smack in the head. There is a reason they’re only a buck!

  10. love88 says:

    Maybe those plates are for decorative purposes only?
    I actually don’t buy food or anything you would use with food at dollar stores also, I’m glad to see that some of you have the same concerns why. Other stuff,like decorations,school /office supplies,etc, are okay because they are quite cheap there.

  11. Cattiva says:

    I feel sorry for the underpaid Chinese workers who work under such conditions. Shame on us for supporting such human rights infractions.

    • Barney says:

      You should also feel sorry for the underpaid workers who actually work in Dollarama. Minimum wage, minimum hours such as 16 a week where they are expected to do the work of someone who is full time. Smelling and handling all of the toxic products while customers treat them like crap.

  12. Sally says:

    A lot of their crap contains lead etc. I remember a few years back candy being pulled from their for containing lead wires!

  13. Just Saying says:

    A lot of the information posted here is FALSE.

    Dollarama did recall plates that contained lead in February 2010:
    But it was only that one time, and the plates clearly stated they were for decorative purposes, and not meant to be used for food. You can buy kitchen sponges and like a fool use them on your face but Dollarama wouldn’t really be responsible if you scraped your skin right off.

    @thatgengirl: You cannot sell any food items for “novelty purposes” in Canada. Your information posted here is false. If it were true, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency wouldn’t have released this warning in CONJUNCTION with Dollarama about undeclared peanuts in a cookie:
    because if they were ‘novelty purposes only” items, then the peanut content wouldn’t have been noted.
    And for the record, the peanut inspection hit several retailers, not just dollar stores, on some very expensive items:

    This kind of misinformation discredits this board and hurts consumers. Stop spreading rumours!! Would you enjoy it if people spread hateful rumours about you? And tried to cost your your job?

    If you don’t feel comfortable buying food or dishes at Dollarama – that is fine, that’s YOUR decision, I respect that. Do your research (as I have) and think for yourself. But don’t go spreading gossip trying to convince others of blatant lies to further your position!!

  14. thatgengirl says:

    Erin, I’ve tried to find my sources again, but it’s been a few years and they’re not around right now. I’ve been a member of for a long time, so that’s the most likely place, but I also used to subscribe to Macleans, and that’s another possibilty. I remember being angry when I read about it, and looking things up online to verify some of the original author’s sources.

    I know not everything is sold under the term “novelty” but a great number of items are, eg., some of their lighters.

    If you’re asking about the recall laws in Canada, information canbe found here:

  15. benji says:

    I’m assuming they are decorative plates? Like the kind you hang on your wall? They’re not intended for “use” and supposed to be “art”.

  16. thatgengirl says:

    Here is some good advice regarding what should be avoided at these bargain stores:

    I really wish I could find that original article, it also discussed how purchasers bypassed import laws, and the journalist went on several buying trips in a certain district in China.

  17. thatgengirl says:

    While I’m on that topic, I’ve also read a few legal documents regarding the store San Fransisco and it’s constant use of conterfeit UL stickers.

  18. Tarrie says:

    Ahhhh, I bought stupid lunch containers and a christmas platter. Good Grief, I ate the cookies off the plater for Santa…My kid would be so mad if she knew I was “posioning Santa”. I am done with Dollarama and the cheap stuff, I never buy food, chocolates, from them.

  19. Zay says:

    Thanks for the post. I too don’t buy any food or dishes from the dollar store.

  20. Alex89 says:

    Almost everything is made in China now, and buying “Made in China” stuff from Sears/Bay/London Drugs/Walmart is not necessarily safer than buying “Made in China” stuff from a dollar store. One has to use common sense and caution in selecting/using them.

    Don’t blame China, blame the greedy merchandizers who import those goods and sell them to us for 100x their costs.

  21. mnyyoungs says:

    I just use the old adage…you get what you pay for…when thinking about dollar stores. I still cannot believe that there is such a LARGE conversation about PREGNANCY TESTS at a dollar store…hello!!!!

  22. Mandy says:

    ummmm… there decorative plates smarty… your not supose to eat off them LOL
    I’m sure the plates they sell that are for food do not contain lead… lol

  23. Maddie2008 says:

    Thanks for bringing the issue to everyone’s attention.
    As always, use good judgement when purchasing items from “any” store that sells items for cheap prices, as there is likely a reason.
    ALWAYS read labels, if you don’t recognize the company of the product in your hand, its likely not a good idea to buy it.
    “WHEN IN DOUBT, GO WITHOUT”. Something my momma taught me that i have NEVER forgot.

  24. Erin says:

    Thanks for those links, thatgengirl. To everyone saying not to eat off the plates, how do you feel comfortable even handling these items at all, or having them in your house? Just because you don’t put it in your mouth doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. If any of you have children or pets you should be extra careful not to purchase these things.

  25. Matt says:

    I (unfortunately) worked at Dollarama for three years to help pay for university, and can tell you that those plates were intended for decorative purposes only. It’s stupid that they store them in the same aisle as the “regular” plates and dishes, but they do have the warning on the bottom. Nevertheless, I always informed people when I was ringing up their order that the plates were not intended for use with food; most of the time people were fine with that, they were just buying them as holiday decorations or whatnot. Any of the other dishes (obviously anything without a warning label) are fine to eat off of, and I’ve never had a problem with them. If you’re worried about that anyways, then just buy the paper plates; you (usually) can’t beat the price.

    I too would also like to know where thatgengirl got the information she is stating; I never heard of any of that ‘novelty’ stuff before when I was working there. A lot of the stuff sold at Dollarama is definitely novelty merchandise, but I mean, come on, you’re at a dollar store, what do you expect? There is plenty of brand name merchandise to be had for great prices at that store, just avoid the stuff labeled with “Dollarama” if you’re so against all that.

    The store is an absolutely terrible place to work at, and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy, but overall the product is decent for the most part. You get what you pay for though, so you shouldn’t really be surprised if you pay a dollar for something and it breaks after a week. Just don’t buy that product again.

  26. Oxana says:

    Quite shocking. Cheap and shocking.

  27. thatgengirl says:

    It was a long time ago, and like I said, I can no longer find evidence to support it. Perhaps it was a cause for concern 10 yrs ago when these stores started popping up, and with their popularity, it ceased to be. I do remember having some long discussions about it with my husband after we both viewed the same source materials. I do know my mind what very firmly made up after that, and I haven’t really exploered the issue since. I admit, there is a very good chance I am currently wrong. But also keep in mind that once upon a time, tobacco companies swore up and down that their product was safe, and the government wouldn’t allow them to sell it otherwise. Sometimes, the truth changes. Since Canada hasn’t had any law in effect regarding the sale of dangerous items until less than a month ago, I think there is a fairly good chance that dangerous items were being sold at these kinds of stores, and many others.

    p.s. Today I also learned that sex toys don’t have to meet any Canadian Health standards because they too are labeled “for novelty use only.” Google it.

  28. cdamom says:

    I’m super surprised at the stuff people buy and the risks they take. Baby plates and bowls for instance. Playtex ones (and I’m just picking them out because someone gave them to me and they are at my house currently before I throw them out but I’m sure you can buy them at dollar stores) have a warning on the bottom that says “do not microwave”-is it because they will melt? Heck no. It’s because most of them (including plates sold in Disney stores) contain melamine.

    Melamine is made up of hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen, and sounds harmless enough but when combined with formaldehyde and heated up – melamine is transformed into the dinnerware. Which by the way, when heated together with your favorite acidic food, (reheated tomato sauce anyone?) can release upwards of 2.5 milligrams of melamine per 100 cm2!

    By itself, melamine’s acute toxicity is comparable with that of table salt although exposure duration, age of test subject (BABIES) and other considerations change that considerably. Melamine causes kidney toxicity in long exposures to high concentrations in test animals-so why the hell would I use it for my baby?

    Does anyone remember when over all those babies became ill, and at least four died of kidney failure after drinking melamine laced formula in China? That stuff is everywhere!

    These dishes should be outright banned. Period. Dollarama should be shamed. SHAMED I say.

  29. cdamom says:

    Actually retract that- our society should be shamed.

  30. Gazpache says:

    I never buy that sort of stuff from dollarama so I’m not worried. I mostly buy mailing supplies, school supplies, dvd cases and other small odds and sods there. I’m not worried about getting sick from anything from there and I know the quality is cheap.. after all I’m paying $1 or $2 for an item..
    but there are certain things they definitely beat out any other store for prices and the quality is pretty much the same as a brand name item. Post its being a good example…
    I’ll continue to shop there.

  31. Shell says:

    Hey I have used those pregnancy tests (and so have many of my friends). They work.

  32. adora says:

    They’re decorative… but people who frequent Dollarama might not be smart enough to know.

  33. jason says:

    So true JUST SAYING thumbs up and the person that said its not Chinas fault. Its the greedy corperations that take jobs their for pennies an hour. Its no different when you head to Walmart and buy a plastic plate or toy. Alot of the manufacturers overseas make products for different companies with the same material and slap a diff logo on it. Its not shocking to me at all.

  34. JRK says:


    Their porcelain plates and dishes do contain heavy metals. One of my friends (a chemistry major) analyzed the composition of dollarama-purchased plates in one of her labs, and it was indeed present.

  35. Jeff says:

    Here is my 2 cents,

    99.9% of items at Dollarama are made in China! China is notoriously well known for bending international rules to get their cheap garbage sold. Melamine in milk?, Lead Paint?

    The fact is if you are buying cheap garbage from China which is about 100% of the shit sold at Dollarama you should expect this. China is in the business of manufacturing to maximize profits at any expense. They care about money, not your or your family’s health.

  36. cdamom says:

    Actually Jason it’s not the greedy corporations faults at all. It’s consumer’s faults for creating demands for cheap plastic crap. Check out this article on lead paint, if people buy it, they will make it, it’s not just China:

  37. NewfBC says:


    I can read. Thanks for the warning though.

    Do you use reusable shopping bags? The majority of those with any kind of printing on them (especially shiny printing!) contain lead.. and what do you carry in them? Food!

    CTV did a test on those bags .. the one with the highest lead content was from Whole Foods. Go figure!


  38. Molly says:

    Thanks Boo. Funny how they have that label “Do not use for food” Well that is ther main purpose :s

  39. EdLeafs says:

    What does lead do to your body again?

  40. Miranda says:

    Anyone know if these are the same plates found at The Bargain! Shop? They had no warning on them and they looked quite similar to the
    Ones pictured above

  41. ivy secord says:

    Whats the beef with Dollar Store Pregnancy Tests?! I’m curious, since I’ve used one and it accurately indicated that I was pregnant with my second child. So whats the beef with these?! 🙂

  42. Shopping Mom says:

    As a former buyer and product developer for one of Canada’s largest retail chains I can tell you that it is not just Dollarama but all stores even high end ones. I have been in many Chinese factories and all the stores buy from the same places, some just have nicer packaging and displays. Pottery Barn, President’s Choice, the Bay, Walmart, wherever you shop there is lead in most ceramics. Bright colours are more likely to contain higher lead levels. Look at the packaging on dishes packaged in cardboard packages and you will often see that they don’t meet California’s prop 65 lead standards and are therefore required to label it. Prop 65 is stricter than FDA standards but both still allow lead in dinnerware. Store and brand really mean nothing when it comes to quality or safety. Nobody is testing this stuff for safety.

  43. Sally says:

    shopping mom ita!!!

  44. cdamom says:

    EdLeafs – lead poisoning is especially bad for kidneys and mental illnesses. It is worse when it is frequent small doses- causes learning disabilities in unborn and small children, seizures, reduced sensations and anemia.. and those are just off the top of my head.

  45. Chao says:

    Thank you Matt. I’m glad read your post because I was not expecting to get some comments from people work at Dollar store. I sometimes shop at Dollarama but I carefully chose things before I buy. We have many choices when we buy what we want. Not only Dollar shop but wherever I shop, I need to think about what’s in it, materials and etc. Dollar shops are very reasonable price and helpful for our budget. Simply we should be more careful when we purchase. Thanks posting this!

  46. kaya says:

    I love the Dollarama. We buy all our craft supplies, scrapbooking materials and much more. We’ve only bought chocolate bars and gum from there and stayed away from other food stuff.

    And when we were trying to get pregnant, we too used their pregnancy tests. They work and saved us tons of money!

  47. SUE says:

    When we lived in the States, we were asked at every doctor’s visit (pediatric) where or not our child had been exposed to any lead products or materials. EVERY visit. We acutally had to sign a form, ticking off the appropriate boxes, each time. Always did the same checks with toys that we did in Canada – you know, scrap a dollar store toy across paper to see if it left a grey mark (leaded). Never any grey in the States (Florida) but fequently grey marks in the stores back home.

  48. falcon says:

    you get what you pay for Dollorama is a junky store narrow aisles filled with boxes not worth shopping at

  49. Sara says:

    Icky. I avoid even things like candles made in China. Who knows what you’re burning.

  50. johnnycash2 says:

    Those guy blaming China is funny.
    It’s store brand/other brand whether it’s in dollar store or Walmart or The Bay,they can easily change the manufacturing to Vietnam/India/Bangladesh/Africa later on when cost in China is too high for them.
    Did you notice nowadays in Walmart or anywhere else more and more clothes are not from China? That’s how capitalism working?
    It’s importer and our government’s responsibility to protect consumer? They set criteria and standard,they should enforce it.

  51. benji says:


    “Thanks Boo. Funny how they have that label “Do not use for food” Well that is ther main purpose :s ”

    Really? Tell that to the millions of Plate Colllectors around the world… Tell that the Bradford Exchange. When you see these “Commemorative Plates” advertised on tb (esp. right now for the Royal Wedding) they aren’t meant for your meal – they’re meant to hang on the wall!

    Frankly, it’s the CONSUMER’s responsibility to be careful about what they are buying or using. No, I don’t think lead should be used in any paints, plastics, etc that we come in contact with, but the reality is, it is. So knowing that, be responsible for yourself.

    And if there’s anyone out there that didn’t know about decorative or commemorative plates out there, then I have no idea what cave you’ve been living in.

  52. benji says:

    PS – and all you Lululemon fans, your sweet darling retailer isn’t so innocent either.

    NewfBC raised a good point…lead is in bags too:

  53. benji says:

    Actually, here is the lululemon link with pics of the affected bags:

  54. Taylor says:

    The Dollarama sells these plates but unless it is in small print on the back I have seen to tag on it saying do not use with food/drink.

    Dollarama and other dollar stores prey on the less fortunate. People who do not have much money tend to shop there and buy household items and such because *ellers and *al-Mart are getting so expensive. Since all the small department stores like Sanns, red apple or bragin shop amoung others have gone out of business now there is no compatition even with the Dollarama it used to be cheap and alot of ITEMS THAT WERE ONCE A DOLLAR some are now doubled in price.

    Dollarama does not issue exchanges or refunds no matter what the reason.

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  56. Devo says:

    this is why dollar stores make money. Rejected items, sweat shops or old technology.

  57. sally says:

    I just found out about that. I bought a night light for my child and I read the label to learn about the product. It says WARNING: This light bulb or lightning product has one or more soldered electrical connection points on its base that contain LEAD (or lead compounds.) LEAD is a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects ( or other reproductive harm.) Please take steps to minimize handling of the base of this product. Please do not place the base of the bulb in the mouth. It says very clear.

  58. Kasey K says:

    My dog goes crazy when i buy anything from the ‘dollar’ stores so I stopped buy items from all. There is an odour which he picks up on and not in a good way. He is frantic trying to destroy the bag and anything in it. I am trusting my dog. Is his sniffer which is telling me NO GOOD!


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