• Some school supplies could contain toxic chemicals such as asbestos, report says

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    As schools around the Mid-South head back to school, parents are heading to the store to buy school supplies for their children.

    However, things like crayons, dry erase markers and binders could contain dangerous chemicals.

    Many parents don’t realize that crayons could contain toxic chemicals such as asbestos, but there are safe alternatives out there for many school supplies. 

    The nonprofit USPIRG tested 27 school supplies in 2018 and found potentially dangerous chemicals in Playskool crayons, The Board Dudes dry erase markers and JOT three-ring binders. Asbestos is a known carcinogen.

    FOX13 was able to buy all of them at local Dollar Tree stores or on Amazon.

    “What runs through my mind automatically is that they have people in HAZMAT suits removing asbestos from buildings, and yet they’re putting that same thing in something that my kid is going to put in her mouth,” said Caroline Young, a mother.

    Veronica Glass buys dry erase markers for her children. 


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    “I know our 5-year-old has been practicing tracing her letters and the dry erase markers are the easiest to wipe and use,” said Glass.

    The dry erase markers contained chemicals that can disrupt a child’s hormonal system – linked to infertility problems, breast and prostate cancer.

    Amy Ziff is a mother, as well as the founder and executive director of Made Safe – a nonprofit that helps people find products without known toxic chemicals. 

    She said there are red flags parents can look for.

    “Hand soap and hand sanitizer are two really big things that we see – chemicals that everything that claims to be antimicrobial, antibacterial… just skip that,” Ziff said.

    Ziff said parents should look for seals that indicate the product is made from non-toxic materials and choose items made from natural materials.

    “We are conducting an experiment on our kids with chemicals and we need to stop,” she said.

    Playskool told FOX13 its independent lab testing found no asbestos, and all of its crayons are tested before coming into the U.S.

    Dollar Tree said it re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing after the report was issued.

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