Notebooks, binders, backpacks, lunchboxes, the list of school supplies seems to grow each year, as do the efforts of retailers to tap into the back-to-school market. But, how much of these everyday items that kids handle contain PVC or even lead? PVC or polyvinyl chloride is known as "the poison plastic" and for good reason. PVC/vinyl contains dangerous chemical additives like phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins (endocrine disrupters) which can be toxic to your child's health.
New lab tests commissioned by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and the Empire State Consumer Project this year uncovered high levels of phthalates in common back to school products like backpacks, lunchboxes, and 3-ring binders, as well as common art supplies and even rain gear and apparel.
According to researchers at CHEJ, "over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften vinyl products, and have been linked to asthma, learning disabilities, diabetes, and other chronic health problems on the rise. Congress has banned phthalates in children’s toys, yet they are widespread in these and other PVC back to school products."
Thankfully, CHEJ has just released their Back to School Guide for concerned parents, teachers and caregivers. This guide explains why we should limit kids' exposure to PVC and similar plastics. Most importantly, it provides an up to date list of brands, manufacturers and suppliers who make PVC-free school supplies and children's products.
-photo credit: EvelynGiggles, flickr