Target 11 investigates toxic chemicals found in school supplies

Target 11 investigates toxic chemicals found in school supplies

PITTSBURGH — A new study found toxic chemicals in kids' back-to-school supplies.  The laboratory tests, conducted by several environment groups, found hidden chemicals linked to asthma and birth defects.  Investigator Robin Taylor has more on what they found.

The test looked at 20 common school supplies, such as lunch boxes, backpacks, and 3-ring binders, and what they found was alarming.

Eighty percent of the back-to-school supplies contained toxic chemicals that are banned in toys.

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For example, an Amazing Spiderman lunchbox contained high levels of phthalates.  If it were a toy it would be 27 times the federal limit.

A Dora the Explorer backpack was just as bad, with levels over 69 times the federal limit for toys.

The toxic chemicals are widely used in vinyl plastic products, which the environmental groups advise parents to watch out for.

Phthalates were also found at high levels in plastic 3-ring binders and children's raincoats and rain boots.

"Studies have shown that they actually leech, so if you buy a lunch box made of PVC plastic, then you have the possibility of leeching onto the food products contained in that," said Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment.

The group is calling for common sense regulations that would identify and remove the worst chemicals from the market, just as they’ve been removed from toys.