Popular School Supplies Test High for Cancer-Causing Chemical

lunchbagI used to make fun of parents who put their kids in bubbles. But the new report on toxins in children's back-to-school supplies is almost making me wish I was one of them. Now we have to worry about backpacks? Backpacks!?

The study which I read the day AFTER I took my kid school supply shopping (because, of course) comes from the non-profit Center for Environment, Health & Justice, and it will pretty much scare the pants off of you. You know all those toxins they've finally banned from our kids' toys because they can cause cancer (among other things?)? Well, they're hiding out in our school supplies now.


Tests by an independent lab found toxic levels of phthalates in backpacks, lunchbags, three-ring binders, and more. Let's just say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates phthalates as water and air pollutants.

And just think! That's nestled right up against your kid's PB&J! Mmm.

Of course, they tell us all of this, and we all freak out. I don't want my kid toting her lunch around in something that's made of a product known to cause liver cancer and hormone disruption issues.

And yet, there is only so much we parents can do until the legislators make these companies shape up and keep the chemicals away from our kids.

The CHEJ has a whole list of tips for parents that can basically be distilled down to "don't buy anything made from plastic." Which would be easier if teachers were on board. My daughter's school supply list called for not one, not two, but five folders made from ... you guessed ... it plastic. I understand that they stand up to the wear and tear of second grade, but the CHEJ says they're a no no. What's a mom to do? You don't exactly want to start the year off on the bad foot with the teacher, do you?

I try to keep my daughter safe. I buy phthalate-free (when it's listed), BPA-free, PVC-free. And yet this morning I was left with those plastic folders in my hands, debating whether I should risk a fight with a teacher or just let it ride. We shouldn't be in this position!

Does this news affect your school shopping plans? Are you already done?


Image via aMichiganMom/Flickr

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