Back to School Tips
Back To School: Environmental Health Issues
Here are some of the most common environmental health issues we have found when schools open in September or after long holidays:
- Students and teachers have new school supplies, and new clothes. Some people, wanting to make a good first impression, try out their new fragranced products.
- Renovations, routine summer maintenance such as waxed floors and new deodorizers in washrooms, and newly refinished gymnasium floors all pose potential health risks.
- Indoor mould growth from heating and ventilation systems being off and the building closed up tight over the moist summer months.
School Supplies and Personal Products
Some common school supplies and personal products contain toxins and pose health risks. Thankfully, less toxic alternatives are easy to find:
- Art materials and information: The Art & Creative Materials Institute at acminet.org/index.htm
- Excellent information and alternatives for personal products and less toxic living: lesstoxicguide.ca.
- Debra Lynn Dadd’s site for green and healthy alternatives including school supplies: debralynndadd.com
- White board markers. Auspens and Sanford Expo Low-Odor may be good alternatives. See below for more information.
- See CASLE’s website sections on Building Materials, Maintenance Products, Building Flush-Out, New Building Readiness Protocol, and Mold Remediation.
- PVC Back to School Guide: http://chej.org/wp-content/uploads/PVC-Back-to-School-Guide-2014-REP-015.pdf#sthash.jJSHJuDW.dpuf
- A section on low-emission building materials is also in progress for lesstoxicguide.ca.
In the meantime, check out the Canada Mortgage and Housing website and the Healthy Indoors Partnership website.
Other useful lists:
CAUTION: Green building choices do not always take into account potential health issues. It is best to choose products that are evaluated for both healthy and green purposes.
* * *
Low-emission whiteboard markers are a challenge to find. For example, some markers designed for whiteboards have noticeable chemical odours, some create a fine powder that can be inhaled, and others leave a coloured residue on the board.
Auspens are non-toxic whiteboard markers and are a Green alternative to the traditional disposable markers. They are also free of VOC ‘s and are virtually scent free. We are hearing good things about Auspens and we invite you to try them. Another marker that seems good is Sanford Expo Low-Odor Marker. If you have comments on either product, please let us know.
More about Auspens from the distributor:
“The standard AusPen Instructor Kit contains 6 refillable colored whiteboard markers with corresponding refill inks, the equivalent of 246 disposable markers. The Standard Auspen Instructor Kit’s main features are:
- Economical – 1/3 the cost of disposables
- One Auspen = 41 disposables
- Tested Performance – Used in over 5000 schools
- Ultra-low odor – Extended cap-off times
- Does not run out (Refillable)
- Six strong colors
- Durable & reversible (double tipped) 7mm nibs
- Non-Toxic (Xylene Free)
- Eco-Friendly: recycle 6 AusPen aluminum markers vs. throwing away 246 plastic disposables
- ISO 9000 certified
If you have any questions, comments or you would like a sample for your review please contact Ecosmart Products 778-297-9915, Distributors of AusPen Markers www.ecosmartworld.com.”
Note: CASLE receives no financial benefits from providing information on any products or services.