A few days ago, I read from Philippine Star by Rhodina Villanueva that Environmental group EcoWaste Coalition has asked the Department of Trade and Industry or DTI to test commonly used school supplies for toxic chemicals. They are particularly concerned about the continued use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or plastic number 3, in school supplies and toys.
PVC is considered a poisonous type of plastic because of the use of cancer-causing chemicals to manufacture it. IT also leaches chemical additives such as cadmium,lead, organotins and phthalates when used and produces dioxins when burned.
Pthalates which are PVC softeners or plasticers, can cause life-long health problems such as autism, asthma, as well as developmental, nervous, reproductive and respiratory problems.
New York Based non-government organization Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) has published the "Back-to-School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies" which offers practical tips on avoiding toxic school supplies. They advised not to buy backpacks with shiny plastic designs, plastic lunchboxes and 3-ring binders.