As parents prepare to send their kids back to the classroom in a few weeks, a new report warns that up to 75 percent of children's school supplies may contain dangerous levels of phthalates, a toxic chemical used to make vinyl more flexible.
Sen. Charles Schumer brought attention to the report findings Sunday.
“Unfortunately, it seems that toxic chemicals find their way into product after product that’s used by our children,” Schumer said outside a Kmart on West 34th Street in Manhattan.
According to the report by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, high levels of the chemical were found in vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, binders, raincoats and rain boots.
The chemicals, which have been linked to asthma and other chronic health problems in children, are already banned in toys, but not school supplies.
Schumer wants the ban on phthalates to be expanded.
“Why for instance would you ban phthalates in a Spider Man action toy, but not in a Spider Man lunch box or Spider Man back pack?” Schumer asked. “It’s the same chemical, same type of danger, so we need the Feds to act.”
For a list of school supplies the center considers safe for children click here.
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