Report: Toxic chemicals found in some popular school supplies

Updated: Aug. 19, 2019 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - You might want to check your child’s school supplies: A recent report found potentially toxic chemicals in things like crayons and 3-ring binders.

Late last year, the non-profit U.S. Public Interest Research Group tested 27 school supplies. PlaySkool crayons, a Jot 3-ring binder, and The Board Dudes dry erase markers all tested positive for having potentially toxic chemicals. The crayons tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos, according to the U.S. PIRG report.

We purchased the crayons and three-ring binder at this Dollar Tree in Homewood.

"Obviously Asbestos is carcinogenic material and in crayons if you’re kids are anything like mine go directly in the mouth. That really is concerning to me. It doesn’t mean that all crayons suffer from this problem of the asbestos contamination,” Amy Ziff with Made Safe said.

Amy Ziff is the executive director of Made Safe. It’s a nonprofit that makes it easy for families to find products made without known toxic chemicals.

"It’s really important for consumers to have way to understand what goes into the things they are using a buying,” Ziff said.

The report shows the Jot 3-ring binder and dry erase markers contain chemicals that could impact children’s hormones even leading to some forms of cancer.

School supply lists also include cleaning products for classrooms.

"Often times the schools will pick something that says its anti-microbial or anti-bacterial and they suggest you get that brand. This is something the FDA actually has ruled on and has said the antimicrobials aren’t better, in fact they may contribute to breeding superbugs,” Ziff said.

Ziff also recommends staying away from products made from number 3 plastics which can contain potentially harmful chemicals.

"I would say straight away that’s any easy one to avoid…so you’re going to look for canvas or another material for your backpack,” Ziff said. "Dollar Tree says after the report was released, the company re-verified the products listed passed inspection and testing. The good news is the majority of products tested in that U.S. PIRG report passed inspection.

Ziff says its important parents look on the labels for products that are made from nontoxic materials.

You can read the U.S. PIRG report by clicking here.

Made Safe offers a guide to buying school supplies you can get by clicking here.

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