Toxic School Supplies and How You Can Avoid Them

October 30, 2015 - School Supplies

Your child’s backpack, lunch bag, and crayons competence not be as protected as we would like. So take a notation to learn about how to keep them divided from asbestos and PVC.

An review consecrated by a Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund progressing this year found that 4 brands of crayons enclose asbestos, that is a famous carcinogen when people are unprotected to it in high concentrations. 

Asbestos is a name for a organisation of naturally occurring minerals; they become dangerous when smalls particles are inhaled. In 1989, a EPA criminialized all new uses of asbestos, though before uses sojourn authorised in a United States.

In 2000, a government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission ruled that asbestos in crayons did not poise a significant health risk to children. However, U.S. crayon manufacturers concluded to willingly mislay it.

And some experts remonstrate that any turn is protected for children.

“Asbestos in toys poses an unsuitable risk to children,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, highbrow of pediatrics and surety medicine during Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, pronounced in an EWG press release. 

Landrigan was also a comparison confidant on children’s health for a EPA and helped settle a EPA’s bureau of children’s health protection.

EWG had 28 crayons brands tested by an eccentric laboratory called a Scientific Analytical Institute of Greensboro. The lab found that Amscan Crayons, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons, and Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce crayons all contained asbestos. To equivocate any risk of asbestos, EWG suggests purchasing crayons done of soy or beeswax. 

The lab also found asbestos in dual fondle kits: a EduScience Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit sole during Toys “R” Us, and a Inside Intelligence Secret Spy pack sole during Buy-Rite. 

In August,  Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) called on Amazon, DollarTree, ToysRUs, and Party City to immediately stop a sale of these products. All 4 companies responded to a request, and several retested their products for asbestos. But these purchased before Aug they might enclose asbestos. 

This is not a initial time asbestos has been found in crayons or fondle kits. In 2000 an inquisitive news by a Seattle Post Intelligencer first found asbestos in crayons after readers suggested they exam crayons as partial of a series of stories on asbestos risks in consumer products . Some crayons are done with talc, a vegetable that naturally contains some asbestos. 

In 2007 a Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, also found asbestos in toy fingerprint kits.

In a 1970s, a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that bearing to asbestos can means cancer. Since then, a use of asbestos has declined significantly in a United States. However, asbestos stays authorised since a ability to strengthen and fireproof products has been useful in construction and vehicle industries.


Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is also a means for concern. Congress criminialized PVC in toys in 2008. However, PVC is not nonetheless criminialized in other children’s products like school reserve and jewelry, and is commonly found in cosmetic propagandize products such as binders, lunch bags, and backpacks.

PVC contains chemical additives like phthalates, that are not chemically firm to a vinyl so a chemicals can simply deposit out of products and strech children.

Phthalates are dangerous during low levels of exposure. They interrupt hormones and have been related to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

How to Recognize PVC in Products

Check a label. If a product’s concept recycling pitch has a series “3” on it, or a letters “V” or “PVC” underneath a symbol, afterwards it contains PVC.

Since some products are not labeled correctly, though you can call a manufacturer and ask what forms of cosmetic a product is done of.

When selling art supplies, a Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ), a non-profit that researches chemicals in products, recommends opposite Fimo and Sculpey modeling clays since these tend to embody PVC.

When selling for backpacks, equivocate a ones done of glossy plastic. According to EWG, glossy plastic often contains PVC or lead.

For purses and jewelry, it is improved to equivocate cosmetic and go for choice materials such as jacquards, velvets, askew crepes, satins, wood, metals, pearls, and rhinestones.

It is also improved to use cloth aprons instead of cosmetic ones and to buy cloth lunch bags, or lunch boxes privately labeled  “PVC-free.”

Avoid notebooks with steel spirals encased in colored plastic. The colored plastic coating customarily contains PVC. Select notebooks with unclosed steel spirals instead.

Avoid colored paperclips and hang with normal plain steel ones.

Avoid raincoats and sleet boots that are advertised as “vinyl.”

For three-ring binders, use cardboard, fabric-covered, or polypropylene binders.

Avoid colorful, cosmetic umbrellas. It is safer to use umbrellas done of nylon.

Examples of PVC Free Products

Boys during P.S. 234 after their initial day of propagandize in Astoria, New York, Sept. 4, 2014. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Students after their initial day of propagandize in Astoria, New York, Sept. 4, 2014. (Samira Bouaou/Epoch Times)

Avery is a association that sells binders labeled “PVC-free,” nonetheless they also make binders that enclose PVC so be certain to demeanour for a “PVC-free” label. Their products can be found in many inhabitant bondage such as Staples, Rite Aid, CVS, and Target.

Greenroom sells recycled notebooks, binders, and pens with soy-based ink. Their products are accessible during Target.

Walgreens sells Oxford Earth Care Stone paper notebooks that don’t have PVC.

All Moleskin notebooks are giveaway of PVC.

For a full list of protected products, revisit a CHEJ website.

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