Here is where things get tricky for SafeMama. Since my “job” here is to provide you with the safest options I can dig up, my list for these is limited. It’s true, the thing most important to avoid is PVC in kids products (CHEJ will back me up on that – they have recommended brands that are PVC Free). But after doing some research I discovered that while some backpacks are PVC free, brands like LL Bean could not tell me their backpacks were phthalate free. LL Bean indicated to me that their backpacks “meet the standards set forth by the government” but would not say they are free of phthalates. When I pressed they said, there could be traces of phthalates (perhaps in the glues or sealants used to bind the seams?) in the backpacks but that they were below the legal limit. So here’s where I leave the choice up to you. If ”below the legal limit” is ok with you, then by all means. I just want to make it known so you can decide what’s right for you. Brands in BOLD text would not claim Lead or Phthalate free. The rest, unless otherwise noted, are PVC, Lead, BPA and Phthalate free according to the companies.
PVC, BPA, Lead, Phthalate Free Backpacks
- Beatrix New York
- CBH Studios “Little Pack Rats” (PVC Free selection only)
- Dabbawalla Backpacks
- Dwell Studios Backpacks
- EcoGear Backpacks
- Fleurville Kids Messenger Bags
- Fluf Organic Backpacks
- Garnet Hill Kids Backpacks (PVC free and when asked about being free of Lead and Phthalates they simply said “yes”. Take that for what it’s worth. Update: “All of the children’s products that Garnet Hill offers pass all mandatory CPSIA testing.” according to them. Which means not lead free but lead safe. They did not provide me any testing information to indicate so.)
- High Sierra Backpacks
- Hannah Andersson: PVC Free but will not say lead or phthalate free, instead they say “All Hanna backpack products meet or exceed the Children’s Product Safety Improvement Act limits for lead and phthalates. Also any lead content is on interior layers that would not contact the food or the child’s skin.“
- Jansport Backpacks: PVC Free and when asked if free of Lead and Phthalates rep said “to the best of my knowledge they are free of those things”. Didn’t sound official but, there you go.
- Kids Travel Zone Backpacks
- Fluf Messenger Bag
- Land’s End: Meets or exceeds federal safety standards and said no detectable levels of lead were found when tested. Would not say lead free or phthalate free but claim they meet or exceed the limits.
- LL Bean: (PVC Free but only claims to meet/exceed the CPSIA standards – will not state that they are lead or phthalate free)
- Mimi the Sardine Backpacks (Oko Tek Certified fabrics)
- MilkDot Top Kat Backpacks (PVC-Free, BPA-Free and tested lead-safe by a CPSC accredited lab and CPSIA compliant)
- Pottery Barn Kids: After a few calls I was told that their kids products are all free of PVC, BPA, Phthalates and Lead. However none of the reps I spoke with could provide any solid information of testing practices. I felt a bit like they were placating me but there you have it. A reader (thank you dear readers!) forwarded a response to their questions about BPA, Phthalates and Lead and was told “We cannot guarantee 100% that they do not contain trace amounts of these chemicals.” So perhaps Pottery Barn won’t be a top choice. It’s your call.
- SoYoung Backpacks Tested: PVC-free, phthalate-free, BPA Free
- WildKin Back Packs: Pack ‘n Snack Backpack is PVC free. Others have some PVC that is phthalate free. Check product descriptions before buying.
Trusted places to shop for school gear:
- MightyNest (get 10% off with code “Safe10“)
- My Little Green Shop
- The Glass Baby Bottle
- Wild Mint Shop
Looking for safer Lunch Gear options? SafeMama Lunch Gear Cheat Sheet to the rescue.