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Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies

On Wednesday, Aug. 26th, the Sierra Group NYC Group together with CHEJ (Center for Health, Environment, and Justice) will release the 5th annual Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies, an up-to-date and one-of-a-kind compilation of safer, PVC-free products for parents, teachers, and students.


What:        Rrelease by CHEJ of new product testing results revealing toxic phthalates — some in concentrations above the legal limit for toys — hidden in vinyl backpacks, lunch boxes, rain boots, and rain coats that are marketed toward small children, many of them branded by Disney. We’ll also be publicizing the Back To School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies.
When:       Wednesday, Aug.26th, at 11:30am (arriving 11:15).
Where:      Times Square, Manhattan, in the pedestrian area on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets, directly opposite the Disney Store.

CHEJ, as part of the Guide’s roll-out, will also release certified product testing lab results showing phthalates and potentially other toxic chemicals that were uncovered in common back-to-school products containing vinyl, in partnership with the Empire State Consumer Association. The product testing results should be a significant new angle to draw media coverage!

As in previous years, the Guide lists safer PVC-free options for over 20 products categories, including backpacks, 3-ring binders, laptops, notebooks, and lunchboxes, and provides tips to help parents, teachers, and students avoid PVC. Here is a link to last year’s guide:

The Sierra Club has been an active participant in the effort to push the City to phase out PVC plastic when it purchases goods and supplies for schools and municipal buildings.

Phasing PVC plastic out of City purchasing is the right move for New Yorkers’ health and environment.  The Sierra Club is pushing the City to prioritize nontoxic, cost-effective alternatives to PVC, rather than continuing to pay for the healthcare costs associated with dioxin exposure.

For a city of the size of New York City to require safer products will create a much- needed domestic market for those safer products.  There are plenty of alternative products without PVCs. The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) is a partnership program focused on reducing the use of potentially hazardous chemicals from products and processes. NPEP challenges manufacturers to eliminate toxic chemicals. There are literally scores of manufacturers who have drastically reduced or eliminated PVCs and/or lead (an additive to PVC) from their products and packaging.