Just in time for the back-to-school shopping rush, two environmental groups have released a new guide on avoiding chemicals in school supplies.
Environmental Defence and the U.S.-based Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) produced the guide, which identifies school products that do not contain polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
PVC contains harmful chemicals, like lead, that can leech out from products and contribute to health problems like developmental disorders or liver damage.
Lunchboxes, binders, backpacks, art products and clothing can contain PVC.
"Numerous studies have found that young children are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of chemicals released by PVC," said Mike Schade, PVC campaign coordinator for CHEJ.
"Given that many safer PVC-free products are available, parents should try to avoid products made of this chemical concoction wherever possible," he said.
The guide is available at Environmental Defence's website.