Monday, August 17, 2009

Banning PVC's in school supplies for our kids!

Important information on PVC's in schools supplies for our children - and a petition you can sign now to help ban it

Ever notice those PVC free labels on products and think... I should know what that's about, but I haven't got the time to find out? Me too. Turns out that polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a major source of phthalates, yes, the same dangerous plastic softeners we successfully banned from children's toys last year!

Phthalates have been banned in children's toys, but they're still legal in PVC school supplies our children come in contact with on a daily basis. Phthalates harm children's health and development by interfering with natural hormone functioning and have been linked to birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, liver problems and early onset of puberty in girls-a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.

Since the 2008 law banning phthalates in children's toys does not cover school supplies, it's up to us to act! That's why we're launching a petition to manufacturers and retailers of school supplies that contain PVC. We know that massive consumer pressure from moms and our allies will convince manufacturers and retailers of dangerous school supplies to switch to safer alternatives.

Sign our petition for PVC-Free School Supplies! Send a strong message to businesses who make and sell PVC school supplies - we want PVC- the poison plastic- out of all the products our children use!

Why worry about PVC-free school supplies? Many children's school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, can be made out of PVC-a toxic plastic that is dangerous to our health and the environment. PVC contains dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child's health. These toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Evidence is mounting about the health risks of PVC, why would we put it in school supplies? 1

Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That's why it's important to tell manufacturers and retailers we want PVC-free school supplies. Sign our petition for safer school supplies today!

We'll deliver your petition to the people making and selling these dangerous products, and urge them to change the way they make their products. Until they change their ways, you can use these tips below from the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice's 2009 Guide to PVC-Free School supplies to avoid dangerous PVC products when back-to-school shopping.

Here's some school supply shopping tips you can start using today:

  • PVC Labeling: PVC products are often labeled with the words "vinyl" on the packaging, such as vinyl 3-ring binders. PVC can also be identified by looking for the number "3" inside, or the letters "V" or "PVC" underneath, the universal recycling symbol. Just remember, bad news comes in #3's, so don't buy PVC!
  • Backpacks: Avoid backpacks with shiny plastic designs as they often contain PVC and may contain lead.
  • Art Supplies: Modeling clays are often loaded with phthalates. Look for clays made without PVC and phthalates like Crayola Air-Dry clay.
  • Notebooks: Avoid notebooks containing metal spirals encased in colored plastic. The colored plastic coating on the metal spirals usually contains PVC. Select notebooks with uncovered metal spirals to avoid PVC.
  • Paper Clips: Stick to the plain metal paperclips. Colored paper clips are coated with PVC.
  • Shoes: Crocs are PVC free, however many similar shoes (or 'knockoffs"), like the Kamid Doodle, are made with PVC. Many of the charms for Crocs are also made with PVC. All Nike, Puma, and L.L. Bean shoes are PVC free.

Here's to a happy- and healthy- new school year!

- Ariana, Joan, Kristin, Donna, Mary and the whole MomsRising team

P.S. - We want to make sure every parent has access to this easy to this important information. Can you forward this to other parents you know?

1 Thanks to our partner The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice for allowing us to share their guide with MomsRising members. To download the complete 2009 Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies, which has even more tips for products including lunchboxes and food storage containers, click here.