The Center for Health Environment Justice (CHEJ) has just released a report noting the hazards of phthalates used in back-to-school supplies. It lists what to look out for to avoid products with toxins as well as safe brands to purchase instead.
Reading through this list makes me question all the things I’ve already been using (vinyl school boxes, even plastic wrap to wrap sandwiches). I wish I had known this information earlier (pre-baby) so that I wouldn’t have already accumulated these things.
Here’s a scary stat from CHEJ: “Seventy-five percent of children’s ‘back-to-school’ supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots.”
CHEJ also notes, “The levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys. Just like toys, school supplies are used by young children that are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposure.”
Why are manufacturers still producing products for kids (or for any humans) that contain cancer-causing toxins? Where are the government regulations for manufacturing processes? I’m sure it’s likely more cost efficient for manufacturers to produce products in the least expensive way possible, but at the cost of their customers’ health? It’s a disgrace!
Be informed and read the CHEJ 2012 Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies to find out what to look out for as well as brands offering safe alternatives.