You may be surprised to find out how many items that your kids have with them at school can make them sick. An organization tested backpacks, three-ring binders, and lunchboxes, and found that 75% had elevated levels of toxic chemicals called phthalates.

Usually your child will be fine, but let's be honest -- kids of all ages (including adults in some cases), if they put the the school items in their mouths or are widely overexposed, run the risk of negative health effects.

It is a family ritual, you go to the store and buy the kids a new backpack and fill it with new back-to-school supplies, but how do you actually know what is harmful and what isn't?

An organization called the Center for Health, Environment and Justice tested backpacks, three-ring binders, lunchboxes, raincoats and rain boots and found 75 percent of them had elevated levels of chemicals called phthalates, which are used in plastics and are toxic.

Here is something that will shock you: the group says the levels would be illegal if the school supplies were toys, where phthalate levels are more closely regulated. The good news here is that even at this level, your child probably won't suffer any ill effects. But if they're putting their plastic school supplies in their mouth, the risk can increase.

The worst-case scenarios from overexposure to phthalates, which, again, probably will not happen, are liver damage and even cancer.

So how did this happen? That isn't clearly defined, but keep in mind a large amount of school supplies are being shipped here from China where the laws on carcinogens are not as regulated, as they are here in the USA.