For 14 years, I was a 5th grade teacher. Every August, a few times a week, I’d go to my classroom and do my best to make it into a creative space for my new students. I was “getting greener” every year but just didn’t think of it that way – it was more like “recycling old things into new things” on the cheap! I wish I knew more about the dangers of PVC plastic back then and how I could have helped to eliminated it from my classroom.
“PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. What’s worse is the danger these chemicals posephthalates and other toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften or plasticize PVC products. Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That’s why it’s important to purchase PVC-free school supplies.”
- PVC products are often labeled with the word “vinyl” on the packaging
- To identify PVC packaging, see if it has the number “3” inside it, or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath it. This means the product is made out of PVC.
The Center for Health, Environments & Justice’s (CHEJ) just put out its 2010 Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies list. There you can find everything PVC-free from binders, notebooks, pencils cases, and much, much more.
But here’s a few PVC-free school items I’ve always liked:
- Sandwich or snack bags: Snack Taxi, Eco*Ditty, or some Etsy creations here and here.
- Rain gear
- Lunch boxes/bags: Crocodile Creek, Laptop Lunches, L. L. Bean, Skip Hop
- Backpacks: Lands End, Skip Hop, Jansport, Crocodile Creek
- Water bottles: Klean Kanteen, CamelBak, Thermos, Think Sport
I am not employed by any of the companies mentioned, nor was I paid to review these products.