School's everyday items could put children at risk - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

School's everyday items could put children at risk

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ATLANTA -

It's the place that our children spend a large part of their day – school. But, could their second home contain thousands of chemicals damaging to their health?

Children playing with toys or coloring with their favorite color crayon – nothing healthier or safer than that, right? Well, not according to healthy school expert Jennifer Hankey.

"Unfortunately, times have changed," she said. "Over the last 50 years, 80,000 chemicals have been created and disbursed in our environment.

Hankey founded Healthy Green School. Now, the program's gone nationwide, making schools safer and healthier. When she goes into a school, she starts cleaning out their cleaners. Most schools use the traditional, popular brands.

She said, "We find a lot of these cleaners have these chemicals in them that are particularly linked to asthma and allergies. It's something that we're seeing about 12 to 13 percent of children suffering from."

She says toxins are found in other common places – like your children's crayons.

"Crayons are created from petrochemicals, which is basically petroleum; and, they don't realize that there's some options out there, such as soy crayons, that are more environmentally friendly, but also more friendly to use for the children," Hankey said.

She says becoming greener and safer is just a matter of choosing the safer options. That's what Peachtree Presbyterian Preschool did; certifying tham as a healthy green school.

But, if your school hasn't quite earned the distinction, Hankey says you can still do your part.

"Not idling when you're waiting to drop your kids off at carpool can dramatically reduce the amount of toxins emitted outside of the school," she said.

If you ever wonder about the toxicity of the products you use, there is a database that rates popular products on a scale of 1 to 10. Click here to view it.

More info:
Healthy Green Schools web site
EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database


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