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Popular school supplies products found to have hazardous chemicals, says U.S. PIRG

U.S. PIRG Education Fund has tested many products that students are purchasing for school and have found that several products sold in stores have toxic chemicals contained within them. Some of the different chemicals that were found were asbestos, lead, benzene, just to name a few.

Asbestos was found in Playskool crayons, which are sold at Dollar Tree. Asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.

The Jot brand blue 3-ring binder tested positive for Phthalates and high levels of phthalates can lead to birth defects, hyperactivity, and reproductive problems.

Board Dudes brand markers are said to have benzene in them which is a known carcinogen that can cause leukemia, disruptions in reproduction, liver issues, and kidney and immune system function problems.

Recently, lead was found in Base Brand’s children’s Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, sold at Costco, which caused the product to be recalled.

“Based on our testing, we know that most manufacturers make safe school supplies. We’re calling on the makers of unsafe products to get rid of toxic chemicals and protect American schoolchildren,” said Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Toxics Director.

U.S. PIRG has put together a guide showing products they have deemed safe for children to use. The guide is called “Safer School Supplies- Shopping Guide”.

“This fall, parents, and teachers can use our safe shopping guide to help them purchase school supplies,” said Dev Gowda, campaign director of U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Campaign for Toxic-Free Products. “We should feel safe knowing we’re sending our kids off to school with supplies that don’t contain toxic chemicals.”

Unfortunately, many children’s products contain harmful chemicals. Looking for the AP label on products will help you determine which products are non-toxic for children. Waterbottles and lunchboxes may not have an AP label so consumers should look for the manufacturer’s children product certificate. This marking means that the product was sent to a third-party laboratory for additional testing using specifications set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Image show the AP and CL Label, as provided by U.S. PIRG Education Fund

“School business officials understand that school infrastructure issues are inextricably linked to student health, well-being, and academic success. Without safe and healthy school environments, students cannot learn. We urge local, state, and federal lawmakers to work with district leaders to invest in school infrastructure so that we can work together to repair, renovate, maintain, and construct the facilities our children need to grow and thrive,” said John Musso, CAE, RSBA, Executive Director of ASBO International.

If a label cannot be found, consumers can also call the manufactures to ask if they are meeting requirements for children’s product certificates or if they are using AP certification.

“The safest schools are healthy schools,” said Coalition for Healthier Schools Coordinator and Healthy Schools Network Founder and Executive Director Claire Barnett. “As children across the country get ready to return for the new semester, the National Coalition is urging parents to join us in this fight.”


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