DETROIT -

New concerns about school supplies safety is trending among researchers and parents.

Tests have revealed high levels of toxins in backpacks, binders, lunch bags and more. Local 4 Medical Expert Dr. Frank McGeorge says this won't sit well with a lot of parents.

An advocacy group called the Center for Health, Environment and Justice tested a variety of back-to-school items purchased at New York City dollar stores and other retailers. Of the 20 products tested, 75 percent contained higher levels of potentially toxic chemicals called phthalates than the U.S. government allows in most toys.

Some examples: The group found a "Dora the Explorer" backpack had phthalate levels more than 69 times higher than the federal limit for toys.

The "Disney Princess" lunchbox contained 29 times the limit and the "Amazing Spiderman: lunchbox had 27 times the limit.

Phthalates are used to soften vinyl. The chemicals have been linked to health problems such as birth defects, early puberty, ADHD and asthma.

There is a push for new laws to regulate phthalates in children's school supplies.

Meanwhile, CHEJ has created a 21-page guide to help parents make safer purchases.

View: Center for Health's guide