Why Are Hand Sanitizer and Cleaning Sprays on School Supply Lists?

As kids are gearing up to hit the books again, there have been a flurry of stories about the odd, depressing, and in some cases outright appalling things parents are being asked to stock up on. Back-to-school lists when we were kids included things like no. 2 pencils, an eraser, cheap plastic binders, loose-leaf, and recycled brown paper bags to cover borrowed text books. Now it's paper towels, Dixie cups, garbage bags, Clorox, and...hand-sanitizer? One elementary school is even asking kids to bring in boxes of Teddy Grahams.

This seems problematic for a couple of obvious reasons. The first is budgetary. Not only does asking kids to bring in cleaning supplies speak to the sad state of schools' general brokenness, it also straps already budget-conscious parents. Times are tough for everyone right now, and especially for families, and these increasingly demanding lists seem to have many parents a little worried.

The second is the environmental wastefulness and the chemical exposure it's building in to the classroom. Some schools should be applauded for listing "reusable drinking bottles" on their lists, but even more seem to have things like Dixie cups on there. And instead of rags, it's paper towels. More disconcerting are the mandated Clorox disinfecting wipes, which can contain bleach, and hand-sanitizer, which often contains the triclosan—the antibacterial with a well-documented bad rap as a health and environmental toxin—or many other skin-irritating chemicals that can penetrate the skin or get into kids' bodies when they inevitably put their hands in their mouths.

If you're a parent, here are some tips:

1. If you must get hand sanitizers, get ones that contai ethanol, not other antibacterial ingredients like triclosan or triclocarbon.

2. Don't buy paper cups. Get a Sigg or a Klean Kanteen instead.

3. Instead of paper towels, get some rags.

3. Write to the principal or the parents' committee and explain why you've done this. Maybe next year, or next semester, the lists will be a little more responsible.

And for more tips, care of the EWG, click here.

Image (cc) by Flickr user Claudiasnell

via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading
The Planet