Don’t Let School Supplies Pose a Toxic Threat to Your Children’s Health
A new back to school guide has just been released by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) – and this guide will help you to keep toxic plastics at arms length from your little munchkins.
So whether you’re a homeschooler, like us, or your kids go to a separate school, this PVC Free School Supply guide will help you avoid the worst of the products and make healthier choices.
If you’re getting ready to pick up school supplies for your kids, you ought to know that one of the materials used in making lunchboxes, binders, backpacks, and other common products is one of the most toxic plastics around: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl).
“We strive to make ours homes a healthy and safe environment for our children to grow up in. But what about the eight hours they spend in school each day? Unfortunately, many school supplies are composed of PVC, the poison plastic. This plastic can contain a toxic stew of phthalates, lead, cadmium, and organotins—it’s a recipe for disaster.” – Mike Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator for CHEJ
Toxic chemicals such as dioxin are released during the lifecycle of PVC, and children are especially vulnerable to such exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Americans are exposed to up to 1,200 times more dioxin than our own Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe, and the amount of dioxin that infants are exposed to is up to 77 times higher than the level they have defined as harmless to their endocrine and immune systems.
Links have been made between chemicals released by PVC and the rise in chronic diseases in children, such as asthma, cancer, obesity, and learning disabilities, so keeping them away from our kids is an important task for us as parents.
Pick up a copy of the 3rd Annual Edition of CHEJ’s popular Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies, and find out which products are much safer for your children to use and wear this coming school year. It covers 20+ categories of school supplies, and an iPhone app for the guide is due out later this month.
Here are a couple of the top tips for avoiding toxic PVC in school supplies:
- Avoid backpacks with shiny plastic designs as they often contain PVC and may contain lead.
- Use cloth lunchboxes or metal lunchboxes. Many lunchboxes are made of PVC, or coated with PVC on the inside.
- Used cardboard, fabric-covered, or polypropylene binders. Most 3-ring binders are made of PVC.
“Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) contains dangerous chemical additives such as phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to a child’s health. Federal law has banned the use of phthalates in toys even as it is still used in children’s school supplies. Both Congress and the President’s Cancer Panel have called for greater regulation of such toxic chemicals in consumer products, but parents can act now to protect their children’s health by making smart shopping choices.”