Avoid Toxins for Back to School!
By now, most of you have sent your children back to school. You’ve done all of your school shopping and bought new school bags and lunchboxes. However, did you know that many school supplies contain PVC, also known as vinyl plastic? Did you also know that PVC is the most toxic plastic for children’s health and the environment? The levels of phthalates found in certain children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys!
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has created the sixth annual “Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies.” This guide lists the most common back-to-school supplies made out of PVC. We would like to share some tips from this guide with you.
How to Identify PVC
- PVC products are often labeled with the word “vinyl.”
- If the universal recycling number in the triangle has a 3 or the letters V or PVC underneath it, the product is made out of PVC.
- Some product labels are tough to read. When in doubt, call the manufacturer.
How to Avoid PVC in School Supplies
- Avoid PVC in art smocks by choosing fabric ones instead.
- Avoid backpacks with shiny plastic designs since they often contain PVC.
- Avoid backpacks or lunchboxes with warnings on them such as “Warning: This productcontains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” This means the product may contain lead.
- Avoid notebooks with metal spirals wrapped in plastic. This plastic usually contains PVC.
- Stick to plain metal paper clips. Colored paper clips are often coated in PVC.
- Use cardboard or fabric-covered binders.
- Use stainless steel utensils for lunchboxes.
- Use glass or stainless steel drinking containers. GoodLife bottles would be perfect to use!
Were you aware of the toxins found in school supplies? What steps do you take to keep your family safe from these harmful chemicals? While we are on the topic of harmful materials and plastics, check out this article on Water Bottle Waste: Why You Should Ditch the Plastic.
You can download the full Back-to-School guide from CHEJ here: http://chej.org/publications/PVCGuide/PVCfree.pdf