Toxic School Supplies: How safe are your children’s binders & lunchbags?

School Supplies

School has begun again. You’ve probably stocked up on healthy lunch items to send with the kids. Now for those school supplies.

Healthful school supplies even crossed your mind?

We think organic/unprocessed foods, nontoxic personal care, even eco-friendly clothing, but when it comes to items like lunch bags and binders we may not even think twice. Many school supplies are made with plastics that release toxins. Not what you want your child eating their healthy lunch out of 5 days a week.

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) has released their Back to School Guide for 2013. This annual guide covers ways to go PVC-free this school year.

Vinyl (PVC) is a toxic material that releases a host of nasty chemicals during production, use, and disposal. These chemicals are harmful to our health (children are said to be particularly susceptible to their effects) and build up in our bodies over time. Related health issues are asthma, certain cancers, learning and development disabilities, obesity, diabetes, and birth defects.

Some of the chemicals released by PVC:

A whopping 75% of children’s school supplies – like backpacks, vinyl lunchboxes, raincoats, rainboots, and 3-ring binders – that were lab tested had elevated levels of phthalates. Not just high, these levels would be illegal if the products were toys.

The good news is, there are PVC-free school supplies that will keep our kids away from these harmful toxins.  For more information on keeping your children’s supplies PVC-free check out the CHEJ Annual Back to School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies.

[Image by goatling at, cc]

Written by Liz Thompson

I am an organic beauty expert, writer, and mom of two young environmentalists who can already spot a toxic product when they see one. Read more about me at Organic Beauty, and find me on , Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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