Finding Safe Back to School Supplies
Back to school sales are in full swing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved buying stationary. As much as I miss the old stationary and office supply stores, I don’t miss spending too much money in them As I typed that my mind went to the movie “You’ve Got Mail!” where Meg Ryan says she loves freshly sharpened pencils. I miss the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. They just made you want to write something. I totally understood her Ah, memories.
I no longer need to buy school supplies for a child (even though it’s the time of year I take stock of home needs and get what I need for the upcoming year). But I saw an interesting article about buying SAFE school supplies. Many of the school supplies are not safe, especially for young developing children. So, for you, my readers, I am putting out this information.
The Source of Research
The article comes from a non-profit testing agency, The Environmental Working Group. Their about us page starts like this: “The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. We work for you…” Their web address is www.ewg.org. It is the site where I obtained the information for my prior post on safe cleaning supplies.
Safe School Supplies
On their consumer guides page I saw a post for school supplies. I hadn’t thought much about school supplies. But reading the article and then downloading the written guide, I can see that most supplies that are sold for our kids aren’t really that safe. I am thankful for their guidance of alternatives. While some schools are VERY particular about the supplies, so you cannot even buy a safer product, there will be ways to make at least some of the supplies safer.
Since no school supply is going to advertise that it is toxic to your child, EWG will give you simple ways to determine if a product is probably toxic – such as giving the recycle code for PVC. Just avoiding the products with that recycle code is helpful.
I know that the back to school expenses can be very straining on the budget for many families. Oftentimes making safer choices means those products are more expensive. Do a little research a then do the best you can and don’t feel guilty about it.
My Search for Safe Supplies
I just checked pencils as it was one of the things that they said can be toxic. It’s not the pencil itself, it’s the paint or polymer they use to coat them that is toxic. A quick check at Amazon in the Amazon Basic department and I found a gross (144) certified non-toxic pencils for under $10. The standard yellow painted ones are double that price. I didn’t even check the fancy ones as I know those are even more. The do have a coating on them, which EWG said to avoid, but these are certified non-toxic, so they should be safe. I didn’t see any uncoated graphite pencils.
This was the only product that was easy to make the switch in actual small supplies. Backpacks are relatively easy to swap as you can get them in canvas and leather. The canvas being the comparable price to the standard backpacks. The lunchbox options are where you can really make a difference. Bento boxes are safe. There are all sorts of safe stainless water bottles. There are also many options for safe, green lunchboxes.
Do Your Best
Again, I understand the costs of sending kids to school. Do the best you can to keep your kids safe from the chemicals that bombard them every day.
Here’s the direct link to the EWG green back-to-school guide.
How are you Going Safe and Green?
Leave a comment below on how you’re going safe and green in your house.
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