Study author Mike Schade of the Center for Health, Environment & Justice said the levels of phthalates found in children's school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys.
Phthalates are used to soften vinyl plastic are linked to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity, diabetes and cancer, Schade said.
In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, making it unlawful to manufacture for sale, offer for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States any children's toy or child care article that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of DEHP, DBP, or BBP.
"For example, The Amazing Spider Man Backpack contained an estimated 52,700 parts per million and 14,900 ppm of DEHP in two places," Schade said in the report. "If this product were a children's toy, it would be more than 52 times the limit set by the federal ban."
The study involved 20 popular children's back‐to‐school products were purchased in New York City and analyzed. Four children's backpacks, four children's lunchboxes, four three‐ring binders, four children's rainboots and four children's raincoats were purchased and tested in two rounds.
Laboratory tests were conducted by Paradigm Environmental Services in Rochester, N.Y.
The study found 80 percent of the supplies sampled contained phthalates and 75 percent of the children's back‐to‐school supplies contained levels of phthalates that would be in violation of the federal ban for toys, Schade said.