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Posted by on Apr 19, 2009 in Articles |

PVC-free school supplies shopping

PVC free labels are everywhere on baby bottles and toys, but what does PVC really mean and why are mother’s paying a bit more to buy PVC free?

Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, is a major source of phthalates, the dangerous plastic softeners banned in 2008 from children’s toys.

According to medical research, phthalates were banned in children’s toys because they were found to interfere with natural hormone functioning.

Exposure to PVC has been linked to birth defects in baby boys, testicular cancer, liver problems and early onset of puberty in girls-a risk factor for later-life breast cancer.

In addition to baby toys and bottles, many children’s school supplies, such as lunchboxes, backpacks and binders, can be made out of PVC. Here’s some school supply shopping tips you can start using today:

• PVC Labeling: PVC products are often labeled with the words “vinyl” on the packaging, such as vinyl 3-ring binders. PVC can also be identified by looking for the number “3” inside, or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath, the universal recycling symbol. Just remember, bad news comes in #3’s, so don’t buy PVC!

• Backpacks: Avoid backpacks with shiny plastic designs as they often contain PVC and may contain lead.

• Art Supplies: Modeling clays are often loaded with phthalates. Look for clays made without PVC and phthalates like Crayola Air-Dry clay.

• Notebooks: Avoid notebooks containing metal spirals encased in colored plastic. The colored plastic coating on the metal spirals usually contains PVC. Select notebooks with uncovered metal spirals to avoid PVC.

• Paper Clips: Stick to the plain metal paperclips. Colored paper clips are coated with PVC.

• Shoes: Crocs are PVC free, however many similar shoes (or ‘knockoffs”), like the Kamid Doodle, are made with PVC. Many of the charms for Crocs are also made with PVC. All Nike, Puma, and L.L. Bean shoes are PVC free.

Here’s to a happy- and healthy- new school year!