Take Action: Tell Congress to Pass the Safe Chemicals Act

Take Action: Tell Congress to Pass the Safe Chemicals Act

Back to school time often means new backpacks and fresh lunch boxes for kids. But buyer—or, parents—beware, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice released a report this weekend about the hidden toxic chemicals found in children’s vinyl school supplies. CHEJ reports that 80% of the 20 supplies tested in a lab showed elevated levels of toxic phthalates, many of which exhibited such high measurements that the toxicity would be considered illegal if found in toys. Yet, these chemicals are still found in backpacks, lunch boxes, binders, raincoats, and rain boots adorned with popular cartoon characters that are favorites among kids.

What are phthalates? Phthalates are used to make hard plastics like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) flexible. Products made from PVC are known to leach phthalates that can be ingested, especially when in contact with oily or fatty foods or during heating, and off-gas vapors that can be inhaled.

Why the concern? Children are uniquely vulnerable to chemical exposure and the EPA has found that they have the highest exposures to phthalates of any other age group. Several studies have shown associations between these toxic chemicals and health problems like early puberty, reproductive issues, asthma, ADHD, and cancer.

Avoiding Phthalates. While you can purchase safer back-to-school products and steer clear of plastics labeled with “PVC,” “V” or the “3” recycling code, there’s no guarantee that you can avoid phthalates until Congress passes the Safe Chemicals Act.

What you can do.  This problem with phthalates and school supplies hits home why we need stronger federal legislation to protect our kids from harmful toxins in everyday products. As Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan have testified to Congress, the current law regulating chemicals is outdated (it hasn’t been updated in 36 years!) and doesn’t require industries to test chemicals for safety before introducing and selling them in products. This is unacceptable in our book—families shouldn’t need a chemistry degree to determine if a backpack or lunch box is safe for their children.

You can join Jessica, The Honest Company, 300 organizations, and millions of individuals as they partner with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition in the fight to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals. Alert your Senator to support Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act when the proposed legislation is presented for a full Senate vote. If passed, this law would increase the safety of chemicals used in consumer products, increase public access to health and safety information, and protect families everywhere.

Spread the word.  Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has asked for our help thanking the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works for taking the first step in better protecting our families by passing the Safe Chemicals Act.

  • Send a tweet to thank Chairman Sen. Barbara Boxer for championing the Safe Chemicals Act.

Let’s work together to make history and change the world for the better! By speaking out, Congress will know how important regulating toxic chemicals is to our families.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.