Phthalates have been banned in children's toys, but they're still legal in PVC school supplies our children come in contact with on a daily basis. Phthalates harm children's health and development by interfering with natural hormone functioning and have been linked to birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, liver problems and early onset of puberty in girls-a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.
Many children's school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, can be made out of PVC-a toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment. PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Evidence is mounting about the health risks of PVC, why would we put it in school supplies?
Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That's why it's important to tell manufacturers and retailers we want PVC-free school supplies.
Here's some school supply shopping tips you can start using today:
- PVC Labeling: PVC products are often labeled with the words "vinyl" on the packaging, such as vinyl 3-ring binders. PVC can also be identified by looking for the number "3" inside, or the letters "V" or "PVC" underneath, the universal recycling symbol. Just remember, bad news comes in #3's, so don't buy PVC!
- Backpacks and lunch boxes: Avoid backpacks with shiny plastic designs as they often contain PVC and may contain lead. I checked with both LLBean and Landsend all their backpacks and lunchboxes are PVC free..
- Art Supplies: Modeling clays are often loaded with phthalates. Look for clays made without PVC and phthalates like Crayola Air-Dry clay.
- Notebooks: Avoid notebooks containing metal spirals encased in colored plastic. The colored plastic coating on the metal spirals usually contains PVC. Select notebooks with uncovered metal spirals to avoid PVC.
- Paper Clips: Stick to the plain metal paperclips. Colored paper clips are coated with PVC.
- Shoes: Crocs are PVC free, however many similar shoes (or 'knockoffs"), like the Kamid Doodle, are made with PVC. Many of the charms for Crocs are also made with PVC. All Nike, Puma, and L.L. Bean shoes are PVC free.