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2016-03-16 09:44:22
Another academic year is here and with it comes the need to makes sure our schools are as healthy as they can be. One of the most overlooked safety areas is the classroom art supply cabinet. Conventional arts and crafts supplies can expose students to toxic fumes, unsafe chemicals, and other hazards.

Here’s a quick guide to what hides inside your child’s classroom art supply cabinet:

Markers and pens with permanent inks and scents use chemical solvents to boost evaporation. Scented types can contain hormone-disrupting phthalates. Opt for safer versions.
Bake-able polymer play clays can contain hormone-disrupting phthalates, which are absorbed by the skin as children sculpt. Encourage phthalate-free varieties.
Traditional Crayons are made with petroleum by-products. Better options include those made from beeswax, soy oil, and other natural ingredients, especially natural dyes.
Adhesives like rubber cements, model glues, “super” glues, contact cement, and epoxies contain dangerous solvents and more that pollute classroom air and can be absorbed by skin. White glues and pastes, glue sticks, and tape are preferable.
Powdered paints present inhalation and eye-safety risks even if they’re non-toxic. Ready-to-use paints are safer. The best are water-based types like tempera, poster paints, and paint pens. Avoid acrylic paints, which contain ammonia and formaldehyde. If powdered paints are used, ask that they be prepared when children aren’t present.
Spray products  including spray paints, adhesives, and fixatives introduce easily-inhaled volatile organic compounds, solvents, and even heavy metals into classroom air.  Ask teachers not to use them.
Instant papier-mâché can be contaminated with asbestos fibers. Colored types may contain lead and/or other heavy metals. A much safer option is newsprint applied with diluted white paste or a flour/water paste.

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