How to protect children from environmental toxins at school
Our children are exposed to chemicals and toxic substances both at home and at school. That is why AJ Products wanted to be the first supplier on the market to release a range of specially designed furniture for schools and preschools carrying the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.
How do chemicals affect our children?
Poisons, hazardous chemicals and hormone disruptors are hidden throughout schools and preschools. They are present in everything from plastic toys and soft toys to upholstery, detergents and food. Because children touch, hold and even lick toys as well as often playing on the floor, they are more vulnerable to environmental toxins, which are most commonly spread in dust.
Research shows that preschools in particular have higher levels of chemicals present than other indoor environments, and the impact of these chemicals is alarming to say the least. High levels of endocrine (or hormone) disruptors such as phthalates, flame retardants and fluorescents are harmful to children’s development and increase the risks of numerous health issues.
Our goal as a company is to provide school furniture that is safe for our children and good for the future of our planet. There are also a lot of simple things you can do to create a healthier environment for children. Here are 10 easy tips for minimising harmful chemicals in schools.
Bye bye, toxins!
- Check all soft plastic toys. These often have high levels of hazardous chemicals.
- Avoid any toys that smell like perfume or plastic. This is a clear sign that the material most likely includes phthalates.
- Avoid PVC as much as possible. It is often made using substances that are poisonous or hormone disruptive.
- Never let children use old, disused electrical equipment as toys. Put them out for recycling instead.
- Replace plastic utensils, plastic bowls and cling film with alternatives such as glass or porcelain. When plastic gets warm, environmental toxins leak out into the food.
- Avoid purchasing food in metal containers or cans.
- Always wash newly purchased textiles such as soft toys, blankets, sheets and mattresses before use.
- Change the menu to include more organic food options.
- Clean the premises before or after the school day. Don’t forget to air out the rooms and wash the floors.
- Choose environmentally-friendly, scentless and hypoallergenic soap, laundry detergent, washing liquid and cleaning products.
A choice that makes a difference
The idea to offer eco-labelled furniture for schools and preschools was born from a desire to be at the forefront of environmental consciousness. For us, it was not just about products, but it was a chance to make a difference in an environment where children spend several hours a day. By selecting products that carry the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, you are making a conscious and responsible choice both for the environment and for the children in your care.
To produce a Swan labelled furniture collection, completely free of chemicals and toxins, was a process that required careful control and development. Even the varnish and glue had to be checked! Our focus was to produce durable and sustainable school furniture that lasts for years to come but also reduces children’s exposure to hazardous chemicals. That’s exactly what our Nordic Ecolabelled collection offers: an environmentally-friendly alternative that does not compromise on quality or durability.