New Report: Hidden Toxic Chemicals Found in Children’s “Back-to-School” Supplies


Did you know toxic phthalates may be in your children’s back-to-school supplies?  Our brand new report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children’s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies found toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects widespread in children’s vinyl back-to-school supplies.

Seventy-five percent of children’s “back-to-school” supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots.

The levels of phthalates found in children’s school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys. Just like toys, school supplies are used by young children that are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposure.

Key resources for Hidden Hazards report:

Find safer products for your children this back-to-school season!

The good news is there are plenty of safer alternatives available.  The 2012 Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies, a guide to safer school supplies in over 40 product categories, was also released today to empower parents to find safer children’s back-to-school supplies:

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  • Shirley

    Great resources. Thanks for all this information.

  • Lisa Riggiola

    Very important for all to be aware of the lurking dangers for their children. Thank you CHEJ!

  • I am Not paranoid

    my children won’t be chewing on their backpacks..I think they’ll be okay

    • ROG


      • scott mckye

        See my comment, please. Your children came into this world as have billions since the blood bag was invented and used for over 50 years replacing glass. When we try to replace them with other plastics other than pvc, we find everything else crimps the tubes leading into our babies and moms cutting off the life-sustaining substances. Only PVC can be counted on. So, if we have all of these terrible correlations between developing brains and pvc, we should have lots of evidence to support this hysteria we have with contact with pvc We’re not talking inhalation or skin contact, we’re talking intravenous contact with pvc, as direct as can be.Yet no proof. Why is this? You and I need the truth. Should we have rampant examples and conclusive proof with this much direct contact with pvc? Someone’s not telling us everything?

        • sekar

          They do make PVC-free blood bags, naturopaths use them. It’s the will to change things that’s needed.

  • Mal Smith

    Backpacks and lunchboxes hold the foods and drinks our children put in their mouths …. but thank you for the info

  • almora

    Thank you for the info. It’s a discrace our government allows products like this to be sold. It’s bad enough our senate rejected the bill to label genetically engineered foods,its bad enough their’s toxins in our plastics . Once again our government allows the public to be put in harms way. It goes to show big business/lobbyist control our gov instead of the voters . PATHETIC !!!

    • Steven Fletcher

      I understand not wanting to have poison toxins on school supplies, but I don’t understand why people are paranoid about genetically modified foods. If you live in the U.S., practically everything you eat is already genetically modified.

      In general, you should assume that anything that isn’t marked organic is genetically modified. Most of it is.

      While most of the attributes required by organic foods are good things, I have no objection to genetically modified food. Alot of people speculate that genetically modified food is somehow bad, but there hasn’t been any evidence to back this up.

      Maybe you should stop eating meat. The high meat diets prevalent in the U.S. cause heart disease, stroke, obesity, and colonorectal cancer, among other things. And producing meat is much more harmful to the environment than producing plant-based foods.

  • scott mckye

    Mike, please tell us which phthalates were found. We know only 3 are found to be toxic and were banned, so please tell us specifically which ones were banned. Were the 75% representative of one or how many manufacturers? Where they offshore or were they domestic manufacturers? So 25% were fine and still they were made from PVC, huh? So not all PVC is bad, right? So why are you calling for a complete ban? Why aren’t you identifying those goods and producers who are doing the right thing?
    Don’t you realize all of those kids are here today because their moms were able to count on blood bags and other solution bags made only from pvc, the only material guaranteed to work in life-giving applications? Are you aware you are here only because of pvc’s reliability when you were born? Are you aware they are moving towards phthalate-free pvc and the jobs for making those breakthroughs are here in north America and you asking to stop making all (PVC-Free) products from pvc? What’s the matter with you, Mike! Baby – bathwater dichotomy. PVC has save infinitely more lives than it has taken, That’s a fact, Mike. Chuck are you aware of any of this before you made a public statement? I wish a balance of all the facts was presented when we’re trying to save children. We are all children once upon a time.

  • Schultz

    I’ll go with a backpack that’s BPA, Phthalate, Lead, and PVC free.
    Found one for $14 online. Eh, better safe than sorry.