Sunday, September 9, 2012

NTM Approved: Stylish, fun and non-toxic... happy back-to-school shopping!

Our munchkins are back in school , or starting for the first time (like my own munchkin who starts Pre-K 3 this week!).   The reality is that they will spend a large part of their day at school touching, using and even eating from this year's new school supplies.

With studies showing that over 80% of school supplies are exposing our munchkins to toxic chemicals,  suddenly back to school shopping takes on a whole new level of importance.

Lucky for you, here's a guide with a whole bunch of Non-Toxic Munchkin Approved school supplies.  Stylish, fun and non-toxic... all the makings of happy back-to-school shopping!
Unfortunately, if your child is bent on having a backpack with a superhero or well-known cartoon character, chances are you will find it on a plastic shiny backpack that -while it may not cost you much- is most probably filled with a couple of worrisome chemicals.

If your backpack does not clearly state it is PVC-free and  if it smells with that yucky plastic scent… the backpack contains lead, PVC and/or Phthalates...  which are all  terrible chemical to surround a child with on a daily basis.

Some Non-Toxic Munchkin Approved Backpacks:

  • ECOGEAR ECOZOO series: From $14.95
Available in fun animal shapes like pandas and pigs, they are made from natural cotton canvas & rope materials with non-toxic dyes.   From $27.  They also have some models (plain one color but still stylish) for older kids starting at $14.95

  • SKIP HOP ZOO PACK (in small and larger sizes)
Might just be the most adorable colorful animals to be seen at the school yard and perfectly sized for younger and older munchkins.

  • MIMI THE SARDINE, From $38
Their new line of super colorful backpacks are bright, colorful and everything a child’s backpack should be!   Made from machine-washable organic acrylic-coated cotton, designed in Sweden and made in the USA.

Because they hold food, it's especially important that lunch boxes and food containers be made from non-toxic materials with NO lead paint, PVC, BPA and antimicrobial chemicals. Some options are: cotton lunch bags, BPA-free plastic or unpainted stainless steel 

  • Kid Konserve  Canvas Sacks, from $9.50
Made from 100% recycled canvas these are a stylish option for a safe toxic free lunch box!
These might take the prize for design and NTM approval!  Made from a material that is degradable, recyclable and 100% free of toxic chemicals, with only water based adhesives  used during  lamination,  (which means it is completely solvent free, with no VOC's)... and did I mention they have super cutesy designs as well as hip designs too? Oh yeah, AND they are machine washable! Love love love

  • Dwell Studio Totes, from $38
BPA, Phthalate Free and PVC Free... Dwell Studio is known for their bold modern patterns and  these are some of the coolest kiddo prints out there. 
  • Skip Hop Lunchies Insulated Lunch Bag, from $14
 Just like their super cute backpacks, Skip Hop’s lunchies are adorable lunchboxes for munchkins.   Choose from the cutest monkey, doggie, fox, hippo... rest assured you will find an adorable animal lunchie to match your munchkin’s personality!  BPA-Free, Phthalate-free, PVC Free of course!
Perfect for the old school lunchbox lover.  Covered in eco-friendly, lead-free tin ( with a chalkboard surface on the inside of the lid – perfect for a sweet little note from mom!).  Designs are limited but  fun and can be personalized and customized... for free!
  • Crocodile Creek Kids Lunchbox, from $14
 They come in cool patterns for kids and are PVC Free. Phthalate Free. Vinyl Free.  
In their own words “all of the things you want in your kid's lunch, and none of the things you don't. Made with 100% certified organic cotton and a tested food-safe lining, they are free of BPA, phthalates and lead. Printed with water-based pigments, the fun and whimsical illustrations are coveted as much by grown ups as by kids.  (which I can vouch for they are just cool!) “

Food Containers
By now most of us should know that plastic food containers can leach toxic chemicals into our food.   The best alternative is using stainless steel containers for your munchkin’s lunchbox.   Another option?  Cloth reusable snack packs.

Stainless Steel
  • Lunchots:  from $14.99
  • Kidconserve :  from $13 for a set of 2
  • Think Baby :   from $9.49 
  • Pottary Barn:  from $8.50
Cloth Reusable Snack Packs
The ideal substitute for plastic sandwich or snack bags that usually have BPA , many companies are now producing cloth snack bags.  Reusable, machine washable; ideal for all kinds of snacks and sandwiches.  Make sure you buy the ones with BPA free lining for stickier snacks like fruit etc.  .

  • Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened Mini Reusable Snack Bag: Adorable prints for kiddos and made with an FDA approved, BPA-free machine washable lining.  Also lead free, phthalate free and CPSIA certified.
  • Lunchskins Reusable Bags:  also come in various sizes for sandwhiches or smaller snacks and in really cool designs and colors (that older kids and parents would appreciate too!).  Machine washable and BPA-free, lead-free and phthalate-free.
  • Fluf Organic Snacl Packs:  From $16.50 for a 2 pack.  Fully machine washable (with a wipeable, water-resistant lining), these bags are easy to keep clean, functional, durable and - above all - safe and healthy... and, yes, cute. Tested food-safe lining. Free of BPA, phthalates and lead. Velcro closure.
Water Bottles
Plastic, even if it is BPA free, is really best to avoid if you can, especially with so many safe, cute and functional stainless steel or glass options.  When choosing stainless steel make sure it does not have a BPA lining in the inside (it should specify it is BPA free).

  • Crocodile Creek:  Makes simple kid friendly stainless steel  drinking bottles. From $11.95
  • Kleen Kanteen :  simple, stainless steel - my personal choice for my munchkin.   From $14
  • Life Factory:  glass water bottles enveloped in a protective silicon with flip top in the brightest colors you have ever seen.   Better for older kids and adults.  From $22

Crayons, Markers and Paint
While most crayons and kids paint are supposed to be non-toxic, the reality is that industry standards allow companies to say that their crayons and such are non-toxic, but most of them are made from petroleum byproducts, which you certainly would not want going into your child’s mouth any time soon.
In general, avoid crayons or markers that have smells, since that means they probably have phthalates. Also avoid antibacterial products... I mean really do your crayons have to be antibacterial?  Antibacterial products have Triclosan, a bad chemical linked to hormone disruptions, allergies, asthma, skin irritation, eczema, and thyroid problems.  Finally, for paint look for water based.

Art Supplies
  • Clementine Art: Paint, play dough, crayons and glue.  All from natural ingredients with no chemical dyes or other additives.  This is the company I usually turn to for my little budding artist!
  • Crayon Rocks, Soy Wax Crayons from $6.95
  • Crayola Classic Washable Markers: are non-toxic and odorless
  • AusPen : markers say they are non-toxic, refillable and cost 70% less than regular disposable markers

Naked Binder project binders, from $7.50
A great alternative to those plastic hard covered binders that are mostly made out of PVC.  These Project Binders are  made from 97% FSC certified post consumer waste, like recycled magazines, newspapers and office papers. Strong and sturdy, the colorful spines are made from 100% cotton book cloth and a water-based glue... and they come in super fun colors too!

OK, so not traditional school supplies, but I just came across these and  love the product and what they do....

Made out of natural latex instead of PVC.  Natural rubber boots (like these) often have a jersey cotton lining, while plastic boots can often be quite cold on the feet:  great for autumn days. PLUS, for every pair of Roma rain boots you buy, the company’s nonprofit subsidiary, Roma for All, gives a pair to a child living in poverty.  Need another reason to encourage jumping into puddles this school year?

1 comment :

  1. The folks at Mimi the Sardine just wrote to let us know that their super cute backpacks featured in today's blog post are on sale right now, 2 for 1! What a great deal!