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Buying Safe School Supplies

Suzanne Price

Photo courtesy of http://us.soyoung.ca

A 2013 laboratory test revealed children’s vinyl school supplies can contain high levels of phthalates, a group of chemicals that have been banned in toys for young kids, yet can still be found in vinyl school supplies. Phthalates are hormone disrupting chemicals that are hazardous at low levels and have been linked to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Phthalates have been found found in the air & dust of our homes & schools, & in our bodies in blood & breast milk.

Public-health advocates recommend buying backpacks made of natural fibers and avoiding the shiny plastic models that often contain PVC. Sprout carries a variety of PVC-free backpacks and raw linen, uncoated lunchboxes

Other toxins to avoid can be found in crayons. According to the Washington Post, some crayons that are imported from China have been found to be contaminated with asbestos. Advocates said it’s safer to purchase crayons that have been manufactured in the United States. Sprout carries organic, beeswax crayons which are a great alternative. 

Of course, when you pack lunches, make sure to use stainless steel containers instead of plastic food containers when possible, so that no chemicals from the plastic can leach into your child's food. Read more on that in our Healty Baby Guide to Storage & Food Containers

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