Posts Tagged ‘ backpacks ’

Study: Backpacks, Lunchboxes Contain Chemicals Banned from Toys

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The shiny new lunchbox that makes your child so proud? It may contain high levels of phthalates, chemicals that were banned from toys and have been linked to multiple health problems, according to a new report from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The report found that lunch boxes, backpacks, and 3-ring binders made of PVC (also known as vinyl) can contain elevated levels of phthalates, LAWeekly reported. Here’s more:

The study tested 20 children’s products now on store shelves, all popular back-to-school purchases, and discovered that 75% contained elevated levels of phthalates, a class of chemical considered hazardous even at low levels of exposure. Phthalates are used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are contained in hundreds of other products, including food packaging, detergents, shower curtains, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

CHEJ found high levels of phthalates in the Disney Princess Lunchbox, the Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox, the Access Bag N Pack Lunch Bag, and the Amazing Spiderman Backpack, among other products.

Scientists disagree about the effects of phthalates in humans, but studies link them to a range of health problems including asthma, developmental delays, and diabetes. Schumer is co-sponsor of the Safe Chemicals Act, which would give the Environmental Protection Agency more authority to regulate chemicals in consumer products.

CHEJ offers this guide to help parents choose vinyl- and PVC-free school supplies.

Image: Spiderman Backpack via CHEJ

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Study: Heavy Backpacks Can Lead to Chronic Pain

Friday, April 27th, 2012

One in four students experience back pain because of the heavy backpacks they carry every day, a new study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood has found.  Sixty percent of the students carry packs that are more than 10 percent of their body weight, which can cause a number of chronic pain conditions.  The New York Times reports:

Among the risks described by Dr. Pierre D’Hemecourt, a sports medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston, are stress fractures in the back, inflammation of growth cartilage, back and neck strain, and nerve damage in the neck and shoulders.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission calculated that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load on youngsters’ bodies of 21,600 pounds — the equivalent of six mid-sized cars.

Image: Child carrying backpack, via Shutterstock.

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