Simple Ways to Create a Safer Classroom
By Laura Saville
Fed up with all the toxic, chemically saturated supplies at your child's school? Us too. That's why we're tackling the top 5 offenders, and offering safer alternatives that everyone can use. Even little changes like this can make a difference!
Be sure to watch for our full post on safer school supplies with tips and action items you can use to address the issues in your local schools. Encourage them to make some healthy swaps for the good of the children.
1. PVC nap mat: Try a Kidillow instead. Kidillow was an exciting find for us and our away-from-home nappers. It's a kid-sized quilt made of durable cotton that folds into a compact pillow making it the perfect on-the-go nap time accessory, and it comes in a ton of cute designs. We use it on top of a polyethylene foam pad like this one, which eliminates exposure to the toxic PVC that conventional nap mats are made of while at the same time offering a comfortable place to sleep. You can also have your child place it on top of a PVC nap mat to create a barrier between them. Sleepy time heaven, here they come!
2. Soap: Harsh, skin-raking detergents and a full chemical load is what you get with most soaps. The ones at school often tout anti-bacterial properties as well and contain Triclosan which is a chemical that's highly toxic to humans and harmful to the environment. Not only does Triclosan toxify our bodies, it also helps to create the perfect setting to allow superbugs like MRSA to flourish by killing off the good bacteria that fights off the bad. On the other side of the pendulum, Earth Mama makes real castile soaps that are Triclosan-free and contain non-toxic, natural and organic ingredients that work better than those chemical-laden soap wannabe's. Our true fave.
3. Hand sanitizer: Most of them contain Triclosan along with a host of other toxic nasties like petrochemicals and phthalates. The best hand sanitizer we've found is Clean George Hand Purifier which uses Tea Tree Oil as it's active ingredient. All Clean George Hand Purifier ingredients are either Certified Organic, ECO-CERT (organic equivalent outside the U.S.), FSC certified or naturally derived. Yeah, it's safe to say that Triclosan isn't gonna touch our kids if we have anything to say about it.
4. Disinfecting wipes: Again with the Triclosan. It's become a pervasive substance used in multiple places at school. Believe it or not, there's a safer alternative for every Triclosan containing product on the market. We bought Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes for our kids to take to school. Just call us the Chemical Conquerors 🙂
5. Pencils: We noticed while on the hunt for school supplies that many of the pencils contained something called Microban. What you say? It's Triclosan in disguise?! You've *got* to be kidding. We just can't get away from this stuff. Turns out it's a little worse than that. Microban is an ambiguous concoction of chemicals that's supposed to protect us from something or another. We tackled this subject a couple of weeks ago, so you can check out our Microban post for more information. As for the pencils, we were also on the lookout for products made in the USA, but we couldn't believe we had to search through several of the stores in this area to find American made Microban-free pencils. We ended up very happy with our find, Write Dudes USA Gold real American Cedar sustainable wood pencils. And they even have latex free erasers. Success at last!