The alarm clock went off at an ungodly hour this morning and I quickly rallied to get my very tall 6th grader and his 5th and 3rd grade brothers out of bed. Today millions of children like mine are heading back to school. My three were ready- armed with new backpacks filled to the brim with the required school supplies. As parents most of us do our best to make sure our kids have everything they need to be successful-including the right school supplies. We spent many days over the past few weeks scouring multiple stores, searching for the perfect backpacks, notebooks, folders and other items on those lengthy school supply lists.
Some school supplies are toxic
But it turns out some school supplies might be releasing “toxic dust” — chemicals known as phthalates – which are linked to serious health problems, including asthma, ADHD, and diabetes.
These chemicals are tightly regulated in toys — but companies like Disney are exploiting loopholes in a federal law. Because school supplies like lunchboxes aren’t technically “toys,” there is no regulation on the levels of toxic chemicals like phthalates they contain — and the amounts of these chemicals could be dangerous.
Study shows children’s vinyl “back‐to‐school” supplies are laden with hidden toxic chemicals
A recent study from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice found that all the children’s lunch boxes tested — which technically aren’t “toys” — contained up to 30 times the amount of toxic dust deemed safe by the federal government.
Disney’s lunch boxes were some of the worst offenders. Their lunchboxes are covered with beloved characters — like iconic princesses and Spiderman, a character my boys love — but could be shedding toxic chemicals that put my kids at risk.
What’s heartbreaking is that alternatives exist. Disney could choose tomorrow to make their products safer. And, while Congress works on long-term solutions like the Safe Chemicals Act, corporations like Disney have a responsibility to keep our kids safe now.
I truly believe that together we can and will make a difference. Over 76,000 of you have come forward in support of my petition (with Healthy Child Healthy World and Women’s Voices for the Earth) asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip a harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®. And that number continues to grow.
Let’s join our collective voices to tell Disney to be a leader for children’s health and stop using dangerous phthalates in their products NOW.
Happy children group in school | Stock Photo © .shock #5826424