New research reveals dangerous chemicals in common school supplies like crayons, binders and markers. With back to school season well underway, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling on federal agencies to respond.
United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) sent certain school supplies to an independent laboratory to test for various chemicals. It revealed concerning levels of certain chemicals in these supplies:
- Playskool crayons (36 count) purchased from Dollar Tree. The green crayon was tested and found to have tremolite, one of six minerals that asbestos refers to.
- Jot-brand 3-ring binders purchased from Dollar Tree. The blue binder contained levels of two different phthalates, which studies have linked to asthma, childhood obesity and lower IQ scores.
- Two water bottles tested positive for lead, but have already been recalled. Base Brands Children’s Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, sold at Costco and Amazon, and GSI Outdoors Children’s Water Bottles, sold at L.L. Bean.
- EXPO dry erase markers with scented ink and The Board Dudes 6 magnetic dry erase markers both tested positive for BTEX chemicals. One such chemical, benzene, is considered a carcinogen by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. BTEX chemicals are linked to disruptions in sexual reproduction, liver and kidney function and immune system functioning.
U.S. PIRG also had other supplies tested, including glue, spiral notebooks, rulers and lunchboxes, which did not test positive for dangerous chemicals.
"We can't have the safety of our kids jeopardized," Schumer said Wednesday. "The result of the report was alarming to say the least."
He is calling on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to immediately test these school supplies, notify the public of the results and issue recalls for any school supplies with high levels of toxic chemicals.
To read the full report from U.S. PIRG, which was released earlier this month, click here.