It's back to school shopping time. But before you get everything your child needs for the new year, you may want to see which supplies are non-toxic and what to avoid. A new report shows several tested positive for asbestos and other chemicals including crayons, binders and markers.

The consumer group, U.S. PIRG Education Fund released their annual 'Safer School Supplies Shopping Guide' and found several items had asbestos, lead and other chemicals.

  • CRAYONS - Trace amounts of asbestos were found in Playskool crayons sold at the Dollar Tree. Asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • MARKERS - Benzene was found in Board Dudes brand markers. Benzene is a known carcinogen linked to leukemia, and disruptions in sexual reproduction and liver, kidney and immune system function.
  • BINDERS - Phthalates was found in Jot brand blue 3-ring binder. The levels of phthalates in the binder is considered unsafe for children by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. High levels of phthalates can lead to birth defects, hyperactivity, and reproductive problems.
  • WATER BOTTLES - Lead in recently-recalled children’s water bottles (Base Brands children’s Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, once sold by Costco, and GSI Outdoors children’s water bottle, once sold by L.L. Bean). The Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled both of these items because they contained high levels of lead. Lead can cause severe developmental and behavioral problems.

“We should feel safe knowing we’re sending our kids off to school with supplies that don’t contain toxic chemicals,” said Dev Gowda, campaign director of U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s Campaign for Toxic-Free Products.


U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Stacey McAdams


U.S. PIRG Education Fund


U.S. PIRG Education Fund


Two water bottles, one from L.L. Bean and another from Costco and Amazon have been recalled.

U.S. PIRG Education Fund
U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Read the full report at to make sure your child's school supplies are safe. And when you're out shopping, pick up a few extra items for our Pack to School Supply Drive. If we ban together, we can make sure all kids have everything they need for the new year.