End Use of Dangerous Chemicals in Children’s School Supplies

Target: Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Goal: Prohibit dangerous chemicals in school supplies that threaten children’s health.

Recent federal studies have identified 20 popular back-to-school items that contain dangerous levels of phthalates, chemicals used in plastic products that are linked with several health concerns including asthma, diabetes, and breast cancer. While these toxic chemicals are strictly regulated in children’s toys, school supplies remain completely unregulated. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission must end this health threat by regulating levels of phthalates in school supplies.

Phthalates easily seep out of the plastics that contain them due to the lack of a chemical bond. They enter the human body through ingestion and skin contact. Recent studies show that children are exposed to far higher levels of these toxins than is considered safe, sometimes up to 20 times the tolerable levels. Effects from phthalate exposure are expansive, including obesity, asthma, diabetes, birth defects, and cancer.

Of the school supplies recently studied, items such as lunch boxes, backpacks, and binders contained up to 29 times the legal limit set on toys. These are items our children are touching and even eating from every single day, and chemical exposure only worsens over time as the product ages. These chemicals are unquestionably being absorbed by school children.

Phthalates are clearly dangerous enough to regulate in toys, so why are we not regulating them in all products, especially those used by children? We must not sit idly by while our children are slowly poisoned by manufacturing companies. By signing the petition below, you can ask Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, to regulate toxic phthalates in school supplies.


Dear Chairman Tenenbaum,

The dangers of the plastic additives phthalates are well documented and accepted by experts in our country, as is made apparent by their regulation in toys and infant products. Unfortunately, many other products continue to be made with unregulated levels of these toxic substances, contributing to the often unsafe levels of the chemicals measured in children. These unregulated products include school supplies like backpacks, lunch boxes, and other items that our children are touching every single day. Considering the fact that phthalates are absorbed through the skin, this is a serious health issue.

High doses of phthalates are known to cause asthma, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, and even cancer. Lacking a covalent bond with plastic, these chemicals seep easily out of products and into the human body. In other words, we’re poisoning our children with backpacks and binders. This is a serious health concern that needs to be addressed immediately. Please help fight for the safety of our country’s children by enacting regulations on phthalate levels in school supplies.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: xandert via morgueFile.

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  1. With all the chemical compounds kids are forced to eat, inhale and be exposed to, it’s a wonder that they can survive at all.

  2. Phthalates are also in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer strips, air fresheners and fragrances. Our kids are getting a huge dose 24/7 by inhaling them and absorbing through the skin. Phthalates cross both the blood brain and placenta barriers and cause every chronic disease known to man. They also destroy every system in the body, are not biodegradable and are a major contributor to global warming.

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