Toxic Chemicals Harmful to Children in Disney Lunchboxes and Backpacks
Phoenix Groups Call to Phase out Toxic Chemicals in Disney Children’s Products
(Phoenix, AZ) Concerned parents and environmental health advocates held a protest today outside of the Walt Disney Company Annual Shareholders Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, to call on the company to phase out toxic phthalates and vinyl plastic in children’s products such as school supplies.
Phthalates are chemicals used to soften vinyl plastic products such as school supplies. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified phthalates as chemicals of concern and states, “EPA is concerned about phthalates because of their toxicity and the evidence of pervasive human and environmental exposure to these chemicals… Phthalate exposures are a potential concern for children’s health… children have the highest exposures to phthalates of all groups monitored.”
“Why does Disney sell lunchboxes and backpacks that contain toxic chemicals that have been banned in toys?” said Steve Brittle, President of Don’t Waste Arizona, a statewide environmental health organization. “We would like Disney to do what’s right and safeguard our children’s health by eliminating these unnecessary harmful chemicals and plastic.”
With Disney’s shareholders, Senior Executives and Board of Directors in Phoenix, AZ for the company’s annual shareholder meeting, environmental and health groups demonstrated outside holding signs and passing out leaflets to Disney shareholders and executives. Today’s action follows a recent report published by the Center for Health, Environment & Justice that identified phthalates up to 59 times the safety level in Disney products. Disney lunchboxes, backpacks, and raingear were found to contain high levels of phthalates, which may leach out of the products. The levels of phthalates found in Disney school supplies would be illegal if these products were toys.
“As a parent, I always thought Disney products were safe for my family,” said Stormy Rose of the Sierra Club – Palo Verde Group. “These toxic phthalates linked to asthma and birth defects have no place in our children’s school supplies.”
Over 65,000 concerned parents across the country have signed petitions to Disney on Change.org and MomsRising.org, calling on the company to phase out these harmful chemicals.
“Like millions of kids out there, my three boys eat out of lunch boxes,” said Lori Alper, a mother of three school-aged boys from Massachusetts, who launched the online petition to Disney. “But what most parents don’t realize is that lunch boxes made by Disney may be toxic to growing kids with developing immune systems. That’s why I started a campaign on Change.org asking Disney to make sure its lunch boxes are safe for my boys and other children. Over 65,000 people have come together by signing the petition demanding that Disney make a change.”
“Many leading businesses such as Google, Apple, IKEA and Nike have already committed to eliminating these harmful chemicals, “ said Mike Schade from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), author of the report, Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children’s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies. “Even some Disney suppliers have eliminated these chemicals. If they can do it, we know Disney can too! As the world’s largest licensor of consumer products, Disney has a responsibility to sell products that are safe and healthy for our young ones.”
“Disney’s promotion and sale of PVC laden products is not only a children’s health issue. The manufacture and disposal of these products is concentrated, both internationally and domestically, in low-income and communities of color, and it poisons the air and water, the communities and the workers involved,” said James Jordan, National Co-Coordinator, the Alliance for Global Justice.”
“Parents should have the confidence that the products they purchase from Disney will do no harm to their children,” said Judy Braiman, of the Empire State Consumer Project, co-publisher of the report Hidden Hazards: Toxic Chemicals Inside Children’s Vinyl Back-to-School Supplies.
Over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften vinyl plastic. Phthalates are hazardous at low levels of exposure, disrupt hormones in our bodies, and have been linked to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. According to testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children have the highest exposures to these hazardous chemicals. As a result of the widespread use of phthalates in vinyl plastic products, they have been found in the air and dust of our homes and schools, our bodies, blood and breast milk. The production and disposal of vinyl school supplies also releases other highly hazardous chemicals including chlorine gas, ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride, dioxin, and mercury
ATTENTION JOURNALISTS: Photos of Disney children’s products containing toxic chemicals can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/disneyphthalates To read the report documenting toxic chemicals in Disney products, please visit: http://www.chej.org/disney
For More Information Contact:
Steve Brittle, Don’t Waste Arizona firstname.lastname@example.org / 602 881 3305
Mike Schade, CHEJ email@example.com / 212 964 3680