Do Your Children's School Supplies Contain Harmful Chemicals?

Keep children safe from chemicals that are already banned in toys, donate now! [ Verified Nonprofit ]
Lois Gibbs
1,033 Facebook Friends
, District of Columbia
United States
3 Team Members


Why Are We Concerned About Chemicals in School Supplies?

Before our children go back to school this year, we want to find out whether popular school supplies contain chemicals that are harmful to our children’s health.  Parents and children have a right to know what’s in their lunchboxes and backpacks!  With your support, CHEJ will commission an independent certified laboratory to test children’s school supplies for hazardous substances, and release the results to the public and media just in time for back-to-school season. 

Help us uncover the truth about this hidden health hazard before school starts!

Many common school supplies have been found to contain toxic chemicals and materials that are hazardous to children’s health.  For example, vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, and raincoats have been found to contain phthalates, chemicals that are so toxic they’ve been banned in toys.  Phthalates have been linked to asthma, birth defects, ADHD, obesity, and other serious health issues.  Despite these risks, companies continue to sell school supplies containing unnecessary hazardous chemicals.  Help us expose this!  According to testing by the federal government, children face the highest exposure to these chemicals.  Children should not continue to be exposed to unnecessary hazardous chemicals, especially when safer alternatives are available!

So how do we know if the school supplies that we buy for children contain these hazardous chemicals?  The only way to know for sure is to send them off to an independent laboratory for testing. 

Help us make this happen!  Don’t wait -- back to school is right around the corner, and we can’t do this without your help.

“School supplies are supposed to help our children with their education, they shouldn’t be harming their health. We don’t allow high levels of these toxic chemicals in children’s toys and we certainly shouldn’t allow them in back-to-school products.” 

-- Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)

What We Want to Do:

This summer CHEJ wants to commission an independent scientific laboratory to test back-to-school products such as lunchboxes, backpacks and raincoats to determine if they contain phthalates, lead, cadmium and other toxic chemicals.  We need your help to raise at least $4,727.70 to test at least ten children’s products that we believe may contain harmful chemicals.  

Without this funding, we won’t be able to do this testing.  The more money we raise, the more products we can test! When testing is completed, we will compile the results into a report to educate consumers and encourage manufacturers to stop using these harmful chemicals in children’s school supplies. 

By contributing to this campaign by Friday August 9th, you will help educate parents and businesses about the dangers of phthalates and other toxic chemicals in children’s school supplies, and empower families across the U.S. to find safer products for their kids.  Major corporations such as Google, Ikea, Apple, and Nike have already committed to eliminating these harmful substances.  If they can do it, we know others can too!  Clearly it is time for the companies that manufacture our kids’ school supplies to follow suit.

Where Your Money Goes:



Laboratory expenses for testing 10  school supplies (It costs $448.05/sample to test for phthalates, lead, cadmium, tin/organotins, and chlorine/PVC)


Purchasing school supplies


Shipping school supplies to lab




The more money we raise, the more products we can test.  If we raise more than $4,727.70, we will test even more children’s school supplies!  We’d love to raise $9,455.40 so we could test 20 products.

We appreciate your support in helping us create safer children’s products!

Who We Are:

The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ) is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to prevent harm to our communities from environmental health threats.  All donations are tax-deductible and there are many perks to donating (see the sidebar to the right).

Why We Want to Test School Supplies This Summer:

Last year, CHEJ released a report which found:

  • 80% of children’s back to school supplies sampled contained hazardous chemicals, including popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded school supplies, such as vinyl lunchboxes, backpacks, 3-ring binders, raincoats, and rain boots.
  • 75% of them contained levels so high it would be illegal for companies to sell them if they were toys.  In some cases, the levels were over 50 times higher than the federal safety standards for toys!
  • Since these chemicals are not chemically bound to the vinyl, they can migrate from within the products to the surface. Children may be exposed to elevated levels of these harmful substances by using these school supplies.

This report received widespread media coverage coast to coast.  We believe that there are still school supplies sitting on store shelves containing these dangerous chemicals.  The only way to find out is to send products off to a laboratory for testing.  With your help, we can do this!

Spread the Word!

Do you know anyone that might be interested in supporting this campaign?  Are your friends and family aware of the presence of harmful chemicals in some kids’ school supplies? Email, Facebook, or Tweet them a link to this campaign to help us get the word out!

 And join the conversation with us on Facebook and Twitter!

About CHEJ:

CHEJ has been working for over 30 years to protect CHEJ logoAmerican children and families from unnecessary hazardous chemicals in our homes, schools, and communities. We mentors leaders and parents to build healthier communities by empowering people to prevent harm through programs focusing on different types of environmental health threats. CHEJ works with communities to empower groups providing the tools, direction, and encouragement they need to advocate for human health, to prevent harm, and to work toward environmental integrity. Following her successful effort to prevent further harm for families living in contaminated Love Canal, Lois Gibbs founded CHEJ to continue the journey. CHEJ has assisted more than 11,000 groups nationwide. For more information visit

Questions About this Campaign?

Contact CHEJ’s Campaign Coordinator, Mike Schade, at 212-964-3680 or  We’re happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Thanks for your support!


Find This Campaign On
raised by 76 people in 30 days
113% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$4,727 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on August 8, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $5USD
    Helping Hand

    A virtual high five e-mailed directly to you!

    1 out of 600 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $10USD
    Health Protector

    A virtual high five and a special thank you video after the campaign is complete!

    2 out of 300 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $25USD
    Toxic Detective

    Virtual high five, thank you video, a CHEJ wristband, and be the first to recieve our 2013 Back to School Guide to PVC-free school supplies!

    13 out of 250 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $50USD
    Super Sleuth

    Virtual high five, thank you video, CHEJ wristband, be the first to recieve our 2013 Back to School Guide, and a complimentary CHEJ membership which includes a subscription to our quarterly newsletter Everyone’s Backyard!

    7 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $100USD
    Backpack Brigade

    Virtual high five, thank you video, CHEJ wristband, be the first to recieve our 2013 Back to School Guide, complimentary CHEJ membership including a subscription to Everyone’s Backyard, and acknowledgement in the report and on our website!

    4 out of 50 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $250USD
    Toxic Avenger

    Virtual high five, thank you video, CHEJ wristband, be the first to recieve our 2013 Back to School Guide, a complimentary CHEJ membership including a subscription to Everyone’s Backyard, acknowledgement in the report/on website, and an exclusive preview of report results!

    3 out of 25 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $500USD
    Children's Health Defender

    All of the above perks PLUS a copy of the book Dying From Dioxin autographed by national environmental leader Lois Gibbs, as well as a a rare autographed copy of Love Canal: My Story, an out of print book which tells the story of how Lois Gibbs and parents at Love Canal changed history!

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Right to Know Champion

    All of the above perks PLUS, for donors in or traveling to the greater NYC or Washington, DC areas, the chance to schedule an exclusive one-on-one lunch meeting with environmental leader Lois Gibbs!

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2013
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