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Back-to-school supplies loaded with toxic chemicals: Report

QMI Agency
Some Dora branded school supplies are reportedly loaded with toxic chemicals.

Some Dora branded school supplies are reportedly loaded with toxic chemicals.

Toxic chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects have been discovered in children's vinyl back-to-school supplies, a new report claims.

Seventy five per cent of children's school supplies tested in a laboratory had elevated levels of toxic phthalates, including popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded school supplies, vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, three-ring binders, raincoats, and rainboots, according to the report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children's Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies.

"We found elevated levels of toxic phthalates widespread in children's school supplies. These chemicals, manufactured by Exxon Mobil, have no place in children's school supplies." Mike Schade from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and the author of the report, said in a statement Sunday. "While phthalates are banned in children's toys, similar safeguards don't exist to keep them out of lunchboxes, backpacks and other children's school supplies."

The report says that one product, the Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox, contained an estimated 27,900 parts per million (ppm) of the phthalate DEHP.

"If this were a children's toy, it would be over 27 times the federal safety limit," Schade says.

Kathy Curtis, the executive director of Clean and Healthy New York, said the report highlights the fact that "parents can't assume that a product is safe for their kids simply because it's on a store shelf."

On Sunday, CHEJ published a Back-to-School Guide to PVC-free School Supplies, a guide to safer school supplies in over 40 product categories, to help parents find safer children's back-to-school supplies. The guide can be found on the organization's site: