Wednesday, November 8, 2017

My Dollar Store Reading Glasses Disaster

Last week I ran to the dollar store to pick up an extra pair of reading glasses to keep in my studio. If you follow my blog and my jewelry adventures, you probably already know that one of my biggest jewelry making hints is to keep a pair or two of reading glasses on your workbench to help you see what you are doing when you are working with tiny components. This tip is especially helpful if you are like me and don't wear prescription glasses. A pair of reading glasses can be a great help when making jewelry. 

You can get them at any drugstore or grocery store, but I didn't want to pay the twenty bucks for yet another an extra pair, so I figured I would snag a cheap pair at my local dollar store, since I had noticed them there in the past. 

So I spotted the reading glasses display, found the magnification I was looking for, tried a pair on, and checked out at the register. All within about three minutes. 

Wow, only one dollar for such an important tool! Of course at this point I was feeling pretty great about myself and my amazing cheapskate shopping wizardry. Until....

...Until I got home and wore them for the first time. I sat down to solder some jewelry, grabbed my new reading glasses, put them on, and started to work. But wait, what was that smell? 

Within just a few minutes I started to notice a strong chemical smell coming from my glasses. Well, I thought, they are cheapie reading glasses, so I guess they smell a little bit like new plastic. I tried to ignore the smell and kept on working. Within a few more minutes, it seemed like the smell was getting stronger and stronger. And not only that, my eyes were starting to burn! 

Could these reading glasses be giving off toxic fumes that bothered my eyes? They had to be. There was no other explanation.  I tried to wear them one more time, to see if the smell was fading. Nope. It wasn't going away. But these glasses weren't just smelly, they actually made my eyes burn. Something was really wrong with these glasses.

I googled "dollar store reading glasses smell" and up popped a few articles about things NOT to buy at a dollar store...  the first article I read was from Woman's Day magazine and was about the 10 most toxic items at a dollar store, and though reading glasses weren't on the list - lots of other plastic things were - such as plastic kitchen utensils, silly straws and window clings, and these items had some pretty scary descriptions. Some included cancer-causing chemicals in plastic, toxic levels of DEHP, PVC and chlorine. (read it here)

After realizing that something was really wrong with the glasses, I didn't know what to do with them. I didn't want to throw them in the trash because I didn't want their toxicity landing up in the Earth. Do I send them to the EPA? Return them to the store? I'm still not exactly sure what to do with them, but I'll figure it out soon. 

But my whole point is this:  Remember, anything that you are putting against your skin you are also putting inside of your body. I read that years ago, and it always stuck with me. 

I don't dye my hair or use tons of cosmetics or beauty treatments. I worry about toxic chemicals and fumes. I imagine people going through cancer treatments due to exposure to toxic, cancer-causing substances. Situations that maybe could have been prevented. It happens every day. 

There are labels on so many products warning us of dangerous substances. People use those items all the time without a second thought or safety precaution. They only think of the here and now and well I need this treatment for my skin/hair/nails/for cleaning/what-have-you right now

It's such a self-contradiction when people fuss about buying and eating organic foods and yet in the same breath they get chemical based beauty treatments put onto their bodies...which land up inside of their bodies, in their organs, in each of their cells, etc. 

Okay so I'm kind of passionate about the subject and get a little carried away, but it's important. Isn't it? 

What do you think?

Have a great week!

My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at

Article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love for Dishfunctional Designs™ 2017 all rights reserved