Four of 27 common school supplies showed traces of toxic chemicals, according to a review by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, an independent health and safety group.
The group analyzed chemicals in supplies bought in retail stores, not taken from classrooms. It found asbestos in crayons, benzene in dry erase markers, and phthalates—used to soften plastic—in binders, among other chemicals, at levels that are legal but which have been associated with increased health risks in some studies. For example, lead and asbestos in any amount are associated with a higher risk of cancer and neurological disorders.
A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as School Toxins