Remember chalk? Teachers hated it because it got all over their hands and clothes, and extended inhalation could trigger asthma. But schools may have a bigger problem in the works: Now ubiquitous in classrooms, many dry erase markers contain a chemical linked to serious health problems. What’s the solution? Learn how to identify this dangerous chemical, and make safer choices for the white board.
Dry erase markers contain a chemical linked to serious health problems. Learn how to identify it and make safer choices for the white board. Many dry erase markers contain a toxic soup of ingredients, but the chemical you want to watch out for most is methyl isobutyl ketone, also known as 2-Butanone. The Environmental Protection Agency cautions that exposure can lead to irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, and is associated with neurological, liver, kidney and respiratory problems. And information from Princeton University warns of central nervous system depression, characterized by headaches, dizziness and nausea, among other problems, which in advanced stages can cause death from respiratory failure.
Obviously, I don’t think teachers aren’t going to die from using dry erase markers. But after learning that the maximum recommended safe exposure to 2-Butanone is less than 15 minutes during an eight-hour day, I am concerned. Teachers using these markers are experiencing much higher-than-recommended exposures—as are students who are using or sitting close to the white board.
What’s a chalk-hating mama to do? Gift your teachers with markers that are free of toxic chemicals like 2-Butanone. I found these Modern-Twist Markers on Amazon, and confirmed their non-toxic status. Not only are they free of toxic chemicals, but at $9 for six, they’re a pretty good buy, too!