Thursday, June 16, 2011
I used to love when the teacher picked me to stay in at recess to slap the chalkboard brushes together to clean them. To my delight, billows of chalk would fill the air.
But now environmental and health concerns over chalk (it's resource-intensive and can cause allergies and breathing problems), not to mention the mess, have led to the cleaner, healthier whiteboard and dry-erase markers.
But are dry-erase markers healthier? More environmental?
Some of the more toxic dry-erase markers contain the chemicals xylene or toluene. These chemicals are classified neurotoxins, as they affect brain functioning. They can cause headaches, dizziness, irritation of the nose or throat, lack of coordination, 'brain fog' and breathing difficulties.
In response to the outcry over harmful chemicals in dry-erase markers, many marker companies have developed markers labelled, 'AP Non-Toxic'.
Why is it then, that at EcoSmart Products we receive calls on a daily basis from people complaining about these 'non-toxic' markers? People are still experiencing headaches, skin reactions, brain fog and even temper tantrums, not to mention the turnoff of the nasty smell. (Sound familiar?)
Then there's also the environmental blight of the 500 million dry-erase markers thrown out annually by teachers in North America. These markers are rarely made of recycled plastic, nor are they ever biodegradable.
That's why an educator in Australia developed AusPen eco-friendly markers - dry-erase markers that are made of 90% post-consumer recycled materials, whose ink is truly non-toxic and that can be refilled. Over and over again. No landfills required.
Thinking about it, I miss the fun of slapping the chalk erasers hard enough to get a white dusting of chalk in my hair and eyebrows. It was a much more fun way of experiencing gray hair.