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Environmental Group Calls Some School Supplies Unsafe

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Aired 8/5/09

The non-profit Center for Environmental Health says some school supplies sold at major retailers contain high levels of lead. The Oakland-based group says it found a pencil pouch and a backpack that consumers should avoid.

— The non-profit Center for Environmental Health says some school supplies sold at major retailers contain high levels of lead. The Oakland-based group says it found a pencil pouch and a backpack that consumers should avoid.

The vinyl pencil pouch is sold at Staples. The Center for Environmental Health says it contains levels of lead that are 15 times higher than the federal standard.

CEH says testing of an Everest-brand backpack from Walgreen's found even higher levels of the toxin.

Caroline Cox, CEH's director of research, said each time a child reaches into one of those products, they could get lead on their hands.

"And then when they put their hand in their mouth, which kids do all the time, or if they eat something, they’re going to end up ingesting that lead," Cox said.

She said that's not an issue with most school supplies. She says that's due to new federal standards that restrict lead in children's products.