As parents (happily) send their children back to school with new stationary, backpacks, and uniforms, the parent community has zoomed in on a Chinese school requirement: plastic book covers.
Plastic book covers are literally book jackets that are made of plastic. Schools will often require students to wrap their textbooks, workbooks, and even notebooks in plastic to protect them from water, dirt, and oil–a perfectly reasonable request when considering children’s sticky fingers and clumsy habits.
However, one dad in Hangzhou clearly had enough of plastic wrappers when he decided to test out the toxicity of book wrappers from touch–after all, it’s not as if children would typically chew on their book covers. Wenfeng Wei tested a book wrapper for cancer causing chemicals, such as dibutylphthalate (DBP), di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), and benzene. He bought seven different brands of plastic book covers, both from online and brick-and-mortar stores, and sent them to Product Quality Supervising and Inspecting Institute of Taizhou City (TQS). All seven products tested high on DBP and DEHP, which have both been proven toxic on some levels. Both DBP and DEHP have been banned in the EU at some point, especially with children’s toys and children’s hospital wards (France). Read the report in Chinese here.
Toxic cancer-causing plastic shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, as shown by the multitude of websites against PVC (vinyl plastic). In fact, there’s even a campaign to ban “smelly plastic” imports from China. Oh, and remember the toxic school running tracks? Those were made of recycled plastic and rubber and tested high on toxicity.
The report further shocks parents by pointing out that white paper is toxic as well–so not only should we not buy plastic book covers (opt for leather?), but we should avoid overly white paper because it has fluorescent agents (FWA). Parents should look for yellowish paper–perhaps schools should be petitioned as well!