The last place one would expect to find carcinogens is in school supplies, however, according to the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, that is exactly where they are found them. The US PIRGEF tested dozens of classroom materials for toxins and have recently issue failing grades to several products that have tested positive for toxic substances.

On the list are Playskool crayons (36 counts). The box set purchased at Dollar Tree, has traces of asbestos. If ingested or inhaled, asbestos can cause severe damage or a person's health, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.  Another product is the Jot 1-inch 3-ring binder in blue, also purchased from Dollar Tree and tested positive for traces of phthalates, a group of chemicals used in the plastics industry. 

EXPO dry erase markers with scented ink purchased on amazon were found to have traces of BTEX, which refers to four chemicals that have been linked to liver, kidney and immune system damage. One of the four chemicals, benzene, is a carcinogen. The board Dudes six magnetic dry erase markers were also purchased on Amazon and tested positive for traces of BTEX chemicals.

It is extremely important that parents be mindful of the potential presence of toxins when buying school supplies. While we understand that constant vigilance is necessary on the part of government agencies, as well as the public in general, it is important that we take steps to ensure that school supplies containing toxic chemicals are removed from stores shelves so they do not end up in schools, in the hand of children, or anyone else for that matter.