I remember that anxious “back to school” feeling – soaking up my last bits of summer; complete with so many s’mores that my belly ached and so much sun that I turned my summer bronze into a summer rose. I also remember the “back to school” shopping, eyeing the new Lisa Frank folders and colorful lunchboxes. These supplies I would love until my folder starting ripping from the massive amount of papers I would cram into it, and when my lunchbox started to get that funny smell that nylon lunch boxes have a tendency to emit after some rough love.
What I remember most from that period of my life though, are the crafts that my mother engaged myself and my siblings in. Whether it was picking flowers from our garden to give to our teachers – or decorating our own canvas library bags. These are the moments that really stick out to me, especially as I grow older and realize how much my mother actually did for all of us – and how much she cared.
My mother was the type of mom who homemade all our treats – rarely buying cookies from the super-market or other snacks filled with preservatives and laden with chemicals. It wasn’t until I was about 18, that I realized I wasn’t given these foods not because they were expensive – but because my mother didn’t want to expose her children to all those unnecessary chemicals. And I don’t think today – with all the knowledge available – my mother would ever have bought me that purple nylon lunch sack.
It’s important to pay attention to not only what goes in our food – but what touches our food. You would be amazed to discover how many chemicals and toxins are emitted from everything that touches our food. And with all that back to school shopping – you may be tempted to buy your child that glittery hello kitty or monsters university lunch sack – but here is some information you should keep in mind while doing your back to school shopping:
- Lead is often added to vinyl lunch sacks as a stabilizer. And though these amounts of lead are considered “safe”, more of the science community, such as Dr. Needleman of U. Pittsburgh School of Medicine, are coming to the conclusion that:”…there is no safe lead exposure level for children.” It is also important to keep in mind that lead impact is accumulative, and people are exposed to lead in water and dust around the house – just for examples – so why add extra exposure when it is unnecessary?
- Nylon may be a safer alternative for your child, as you can buy it lead-free, but it is not safer for our environment. Nylon is made from petrochemicals, which are non-biodegradable and emits nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas.
- Make sure the bags you are buying are PVC-free. PVC contains both phthalates and lead. Phthalates are linked to breast cancer, hormone disruption, birth defects, and have many more adverse health effects.
For a cute-idea, lasting memories, and safe lunchware – both for your child and the environment- check out ECOBAGS® lunch sets – made of 100% recyclable all natural cotton canvas! Go out and buy some Sharpie fabric markers and have your child create their own customized lunch box for the upcoming school year – what’s cooler than that? And better yet, these are the memories they will look back at fondly when they finally realize that they weren’t always right.
-Written by: Mollie McTavey Nalven, ECOBAGS® Brand Advocate