The Back-to-School Guide for Safer School Supplies provides parents with information on many common back-to-school items – from backpacks to binders – that may contain toxic chemicals and suggests some safer alternatives.
For example, a lot of children’s products, including backpacks, paper clips, 3-ring binders, and lunch boxes, are decorated with PVC coatings. Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a type of plastic that contains dangerous chemical additives like phthalates, lead, and cadmium, which can harm children’s health. Toxic chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle have been linked to chronic diseases that are on the rise, like cancer, asthma, obesity, and learning and development disabilities. Even small exposures to these chemicals can pose a risk to children. Our buying guide identifies items that contain PVC, and recommends alternatives, such as cardboard or fabric covered binders rather than vinyl ones.