Activist group scares parents about toxic school supplies

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As the summer season draws to a close, students and parents are making their annual back-to-school shopping trips, stocking up on pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. But before you pick up that Dora the Explorer backpack, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) wants the public to know that the popular Disney, Spiderman, and Dora branded children s products (among others) are actually quite dangerous. Why? Because they re laced with toxic phthalates, of course.

We have come to expect these alarmist attacks at exactly the time parents would be expected to be most concerned, and the CHEJ report fills that bill. While their science is suspect, their media savvy is always on target. In this latest CHEJ report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies, author Mike Schade points out that 75 percent of children s school supplies tested in a lab had elevated levels of phthalates. And as he points out, these dangerous chemicals manufactured by Exxon Mobil have no place in our children s school supplies ¦It s time for Congress to move forward and pass the Safe Chemicals Act to protect our children from toxic exposure.

Not surprisingly, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) co-sponsor of the so-called Safe Chemicals Act appeared at CHEJ s press event, where he too maintained that toxic chemicals have no place in children s products.

Activist groups posing as scientific experts believe with some reason that by repeating these baseless allegations, everyone will fall in line and demand removal of plasticizers, ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross observes. Time and again, environmental groups attack these so-called toxic chemicals even though decades of their widespread use have provided mountains of evidence indicating they re safe and do not pose any danger to human health. They never mention what might replace phthalates, if their crusade proves successful untested chemicals, certainly, providing them with new targets. Unfortunately, such scientific facts receive short shrift while blogger hysteria moves into the media spotlight, where it needlessly scares the public.