The Dangers of Thrift Store Shopping: How to Avoid Buying Toxic Home Items

Monica Gray - February 7, 2023

That Old Rug May Make You Sneeze

Did you buy a used rug from a thrift store and suddenly, you’re sneezing? That’s because the pre-owned rug can contain mildew, mold, allergens, dust, and stains. Even worse, it could contain black mold, which is incredibly harmful and toxic to your health. Carpet mold comes in black, white, or green spots, so if you see this on the rug, leave it at the shop. If you bring this mold into your home, you run the risk of spreading it to other areas of your home. If you or your family are sensitive to mold, you might experience sneezing, sniffling, itchy eyes, or itchy skin (GP Inspect).


Outdated Furniture May Contain Multiple Toxins

If you see a couch or other furniture that dates back to 1984, leave it at the shop. It may be one of the 85% of furniture that contains harmful fire retardant chemicals in its fabric. In 1975, a “California furniture flammability standard called Technical Bulletin 117 led to the use of harmful and ineffective flame retardant chemicals in furniture and children’s product foam. This California regulation was followed across all of North America.” This toxin is associated with a lower IQ in children, hormone disruption, cancer, and a host of other health problems (Green Science Policy).


Construction Materials Have Lead, Especially Before 1978

Just as many other items on this list may contain lead, windows, doors, and molding manufactured before 1978 may also contain lead. Leave the construction materials at the store, where you found them. Lead poisoning is a serious issue, and it’s never worth saving money. To prevent this, you can do a lead paint test before taking it out of the store (Country Living).

The Healthy

Used Makeup Contains Yucky Bacteria, Avoid It Altogether

Wearing other people’s makeup is never a good idea, especially because it can lead to skin infections. Even with unopened cosmetics, you don’t know the expiration date or if someone happened to tamper with the item. It’s always better to spend the extra money and buy high-quality makeup. You’re putting it near your eyes, nose, and mouth, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry (Country Living).