3 Tips for Healthier School Supplies

children Aug 17, 2016

As sad as it is to see another gorgeous summer come to an end, the anticipation of a new school year is an exciting time for the family to enjoy. Each year, as I browse through the endless product choices available for back-to-school shopping, I'm reminded that because of certain chemical ingredients, not all of these choices are safe for the youngest members of our families. However, the three tips below will build a framework for a healthier school year.

1. Choose stainless steel over plastic. When it comes to lunch carriers and water bottles, stainless steel varieties are a healthy choice. They are safer than their plastic counterparts, as chemicals like phthalates and BPA can leach from plastics into the food and beverages they carry (also, many "BPA-free" products contain replacement chemicals that can be just as threatening). While there are many great options available, my children love the compartments of the stainless steel lunch boxes by PlanetBox. Stainless steel products are durable (mine have lasted years), and they are better for the environment than plastic varieties.

2. Detox your crayon supply. The Environmental Working Group recently tested popular crayon products, and found asbestos in four out of twenty-eight boxes of crayons that were tested. According to the EWG, “contaminated crayons could release microscopic asbestos fibers as children use them,” which is worrisome, since OSHA has stated that “there is no ‘safe’ level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.” Since crayons are such a beloved art tool for children (also one that children often put in their mouths), it is worthwhile to consider their asbestos exposure through crayons. For healthier alternatives, look for products that tested negative for asbestos in the EWG study, such as crayons made by Crayola.

3. Avoid hand sanitizers. Some schools request that children bring hand sanitizers to school, but if you can avoid it, it is best to skip using antibacterial products. In January of 2015, the FDA stated that there is no evidence that antibacterial soap prevents illness any better than regular soap and water, and Colleen Rogers, Ph.D., a lead microbiologist at the FDA, explained that “new data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits.”

Additional products that can be detoxed are children's school supplies: backpacks, binders, and paints. Avoid vinyl when possible. Share your favorite tips and products for healthier school supplies in the comments section below!

Stay connected with nontoxic lifestyle news and updates!

Receive our free Ruan Living Nontoxic Cleaning Guide when you join our email list.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.

About Ruan Living

Ruan Living simplifies a nontoxic lifestyle through its Practical Nontoxic Living podcast, free detox workshops, online D-Tox Academy, and transformative 40-Day Home Detox. It aims to help you avoid toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from what you buy, own, and do— without compromising your joy and convenience. Ruan was founded by Sophia Ruan Gushée, author of the bestselling critically acclaimed book A to Z of D-Toxing: The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Your Toxic Exposures and several detox workbooks. A graduate of Brown University and Columbia Business School, Sophia has served on the Brown University School of Public Health Advisory Council and Well+Good Council. A popular nontoxic living speaker, consultant, and teacher, Sophia lives in New York City with her husband and three daughters. Her passion for empowering others to enjoy nontoxic living began with the birth of her first daughter in 2007. Everything she creates is a love letter to her children and for the healthiest, brightest future possible. You can learn more here: Sophia’s Impact.


This article is for informational purposes only. This information is provided “as is” without warranty.

It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. We do not offer medical advice, course of treatment, diagnosis, or any other opinion on your conditions or treatment options. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Ruan Living.

In no event will Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living be liable for any damages or loss of any kind resulting from the use of this website. Anyone relying upon or making use of the information on this website does so at his or her own risk.

Some of the services and products recommended on this website provide compensation to Sophia Ruan Gushee or Ruan Living. All recommendations are based foremost upon an honest belief that the product, service, or site will benefit our site visitors in some way.  

Detox Your Inbox

Easy tips, podcasts, workshops, updates, and more!


For You

40-Day Home Detox



D-Tox Academy




Ruan Living

Our Mission

Sophia Ruan Gushée

Corporate Wellness

D-Tox Academy





Stay In Touch

[email protected]