Children's back-to-school backpacks and other supplies may contain higher levels of potentially toxic chemicals than the government allows in most toys, a new study shows.
The study randomly tested 20 back-to-school items purchased in New York City and found that about 75 percent of samples contained high levels of potentially toxic phthalates. New York Sen. Charles Schumer called for new laws to regulate the chemical while discussing the report, which was released by the advocacy group Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) on Sunday.
According to CHEJ, phthalates are a class of chemical used to soften vinyl plastic that is hazardous at even low levels of exposure. The chemicals have been linked to birth defects, early puberty, infertility, asthma, ADHD, obesity and diabetes.
This Disney Princess Lunchbox tested by CHEJ contained an estimated 29,800 ppm of DEHP, a type of phthalate. If this product were a children's toy, this would be over 29 times the federal limit allowed for phthalates in toys.