It’s back to school time! This year is special for me because my little Beck is starting preschool. I have found a wonderful Montessori school that he will be attending Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I can’t believe he is getting so big. It definitely makes me think more about homeschooling him so I can squeeze in those extra few hours while he is still young. He will love school though, and I will appreciate the time to run errands without having to convince him that being buckled into his car seat is really the way to go.
Of course, this means back to school supplies. I will be talking about waste-free lunches more later, today let’s look at school supplies. When your kiddo is chewing on their PVC coated pen or raincoat they are sucking down phalates, lead and cadmium. That all-pervasive chemical, PVC, is all over your little rugrat’s treasures if you are not careful. To review- PVC emits toxic chemicals during its production, off-gasses nasty things throughout its useful life (which typically isn’t even that long), then emits toxic chemicals again when it is disposed of. It doesn’t biodegrade of course, so it is either left in a landfill to leach for future generations, burned so the toxins can go into the air, or left floating in the ocean for the birds and sea life to nibble on. What great choices!
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid PVC. The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has put together a handy Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies. With everything from backpacks and rain coats to art supplies and paperclips, you can easily be PVC-free! Not just for the kiddos, many office supplies are listed so there is no excuse not to download the guide. Not to worry, the suggested alternatives are not all weird, obscure and expensive; in fact, many can be found at stores like Staples and Target or my mother-in-law’s favorite, LL Bean. Available as both a mini wallet guide and the extensive guide, I strongly encourage everyone to take a look and make an effort to avoid PVC.