Chemicals in Children's Markers

Investigation of health risks to children from exposures to chemicals in coloring markers

The Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) is collaborating with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) to study children’s exposure to chemical ingredients in markers used in California classrooms and homes.  OEHHA is funding this effort and providing toxicological expertise.

As part of the project, we asked volunteers to complete a brief survey about markers used by children at school or at home. This survey is now closed and we thank those who participated. The input on this survey helped us determine the types of markers to include in the study.

Once the entire study is complete, short summaries of the results will be posted on this webpage.

First paper with study results now published: We measured the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from markers commonly used by children. We found that permanent and dry erase markers had average total VOC emissions more than 400 times higher than highlighters and washable markers. In the next phase of our study we will be examining potential health risks to children from these VOC exposures.  To access the abstract for this publication click here.  Please contact Shoba Iyer for a pdf of the complete publication.

colored makers

For more information

You can visit the CERCH project page here:

If you have any questions, please email Shoba Iyer at