The short and long answer – no and yes. Chalk is made from a natural calcium carbonate. Its non-toxic when ingested. However, when inhaled, it can pose some problems for people with challenged respiratory systems or with prolonged exposure.
Students and teachers are exposed to chalk day in and day out. The chalk board, erasers, chamois and trays hold keep a lot of dust while the rest can settle throughout classrooms. Asthma rates and airborne pollutants are on the rise, with children and those with weakened respiratory systems suffering the most.
So what can you do as a parent, teacher or student?
There are products like dustless chalk available on the market. They still produce a dust, but the dust particles are larger and therefore fall to the ground faster. This dustless chalk came up the most in our searches but the reviews are mixed.
Other alternatives could be to use an overhead projector or whiteboards with non-toxic erasable markers like AusPens.