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Dixon Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencils

Dixon Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencil

On a recent trip to a department store, I found an unusual pencil offering – “Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencils with Microban antimicrobial product protection.” The package additionally says “Microban protection inhibits the growth of odor and stain causing bacteria.”

The colour is hard for me to describe, but a hospital influenced muted grey seems roughly correct. It is certainly a pencil colour I’ve never seen before. Not too appealing, I would say.

The pencils are simply marked “Dixon Ticonderoga 2 HB”. The package reveals that the pencils are made in Mexico.

A quick search reveals that Microban is a chemical treatment that will prohibit microbial growth. The health and safety benefits of antimicrobial products have been regularly questioned, and I note that Dixon was quite restrained in claiming any safety benefits on the package. Still, I think there is an unambiguous implicit message in such products: keep safe from those nasty germs!

I’m usually happy to find a new pencil, but learning of this product doesn’t produce any sort of joy for me.

Will this be a popular back-to-school pencil with worried parents? Do you welcome the antimicrobial Ticonderoga? Would you buy it yourself?

40 comments to Dixon Ticonderoga Antimicrobial Pencils

  • ROLF. talk about catering to American paranoia with dirt. or maybe this is for the Japan market would may actually be better for something like this. I guess more people are chewing on them, they I thought

  • I’ve seen, of all things, an antimicrobial kitchen timer. I guess that’s for when your kid has strep and wants to bake a cake?

    I am with J Godsey — it’s really creating paranoia to pander to; PaperMate has a line of antimicrobial pens. But then I’m one of those people whose immune systems are stronger for a little exposure to a microbe or two.

    I’m not sure I want to chew on a chemical called “Microban.”

  • The pencils kind of look like a prop from “Logan’s Run”, or something.

    I’m not a parent, but if I were, I think I’d have other things to be concerned about than the bacteria on my child’s pencil.

  • [...] You all know how germ-infested pencils are. Protect yourself and your family now!! (This post is especially for Steve, who understands the dangers of germs from common objects.) Via Pencil Talk. [...]

  • Presuming that it works as advertised, not a bad idea at all, imho. My wife works at a doctor’s office and she usually tells patients with nasty communicable symptoms to just keep the pen. ;-)

  • fantamic

    Microban is a nasty chemical.
    Papermate instead use silver a natural antibacterial.

  • Adair

    I actually like the color—something retro about it. Unfortunately, this Mexican-made pencil is shoddily produced. I bought two packs. Several of the pencils had leads that broke constantly. A few of the shafts had something—gunk or pieces of cloth or clumps of dried glue, I don’t know—just locked in under the paint, creating unseemly and uncomfortable bumps. Not very hygenic, if you ask me! A pity. This could have been an interesting pencil.

  • anon85

    Ticonderoga’s used to be my favourite pencil, until they moved production to Mexico and China. Anyone else noticed that they now seem to smell quite bad? I used to love the smell of a freshly sharpened Ticonderoga; but now they seem to have a very strong new paint mingling with some kind of wood-rot type odour. And it wasn’t just a bad batch; I’ve bought several from several stores after fairly long intervals, and they just reek. As for this topic, these pencils might see some use in grade schools, though with most kids using mechanical pencils I can’t imagine sales will be that good.

  • These pencils are both funny and sad. Odor and stain? Are we talking about toothpaste?

    As a teacher, I’d say that paper poses greater danger than pencils. When I ask students to do a fast quiz on a half-sheet of paper, I always remember to mention No Licking — if I don’t, someone always licks the folded edge of the paper before tearing it in half.

  • Tyler

    I actually got the pencils because I thought the color was cool (kind of like a light sky blue instead of a muted gray).

  • Don Jacobson

    Boy, Dixon will do anything to turn attention away from the declining quality of their products.

  • Tyler

    That’s true it seems like.

  • penciladdicted

    what kind of sad thing is this? i actually like pencils and i find this utterly sad….

  • Ticonderoga

    Don you are somewhat right, when Dixon moved its plants to china and mexico its quality did drop a little ( it’s still my favorite brand) but i think these were a good idea , especially in hospitals. I think these pencils were made in America for a short while before the plant transfer so it wasn’t a ploy to draw attention from quality decline

  • Todd

    another simple luxury ruined – microban – no thanks. the smell of a new box of pencils since childhood. wake up, ticonderoga – people are buying the smell, not just the name. now i will just buy some off brand. thanks for ruining another piece of our lives.

  • David O.

    I just bought a box of these at Office Depot for kicks. They are a light blue, which reminds me of the grade school pencils (marked with the school name) that I used to buy from the supply office when I was a kid – likely the main reason I bought it (with Tyler on that). I sharpened one of them, and one half seems to be a darker somewhat fragrant cedar. It seems to write OK.
    I also wonder if “microban” coated pencils is getting a little carried away with the anti-bacterial product marketing.

  • Marie

    With a lot of schools going green, I think Dixon is making a big mistake putting a registered pesticide (that’s what Microban is) in their pencils. The package used to say “non-toxic,” but not anymore. Their msds does not list Microban as an ingredient. Sounds like they are trying to hide how dangerous their pencils are now. I am going to make it a point to get the word out to the green schools in my community about these pencils in hopes that people will not use them.

  • David O.

    This is an interesting link about Microban from a hot tub site. They state a true fact that too much use of antimicrobial materials can cause resistant bacteria to be produced and kill “good” bacteria. The big question with Microban is whether it even works as stated. It might be best at inhibiting mold – if that also worked. The gist of this site is that it is a marketing gimmick:
    http://www.rhtubs.com/microban.htm

  • Eco sister

    I just discovered the Microban in Dixon-Ticonderoga pencils yesterday. All the D-T packages I checked, sport a non-toxic certification from Pencil Makers Association (PMA) as well. Hmm, the PMA does not consider Microban (aka triclosan) non-toxic?? Scientific evidence is pointing at triclosan playing a role in antibiotic-resistent ‘super bugs’.
    There are also no distinguishing marks on any of the D-T pencils to show which do or do not contain Microban. How many children in America have chewed/are chewing on these pencils every day, adding to their body- burdens of chemicals? Shouldn’t school districts know about this?
    A sad day, indeed, that America’s once best pencil, in fact, one of America’s best and most-trusted products is gone. When a brand loses the trust of its consumers, that is truly the end of the brand.

  • David O.

    I was at on Office Depot in the U.S. last night and noticed that the normal color Ticonderogas are also coming out with Microban. Maybe the blue/gray finish was done as a temporary version to differentiate them more in the market.

  • Eco sister

    I wrote to Dixon-Ticonderoga and to the Pencil Manufacturers Assn. for an explanation of their using and allowing, respectively, the microban in this pencil. Neither has responded to my query. I’m not surprised.
    The Environmental Working Group in Washingtion, D.C. is doing extensive research on this chemical, in addition to many other toxins and poisons. They are at http://www.ewg.org and well worth a visit.

  • Eco sister, your report is appreciated.

  • Tara

    I think the color is kind of pretty…and if you chew on your pencil and this one appears to be ‘toxic’ or whatever, then don’t get this one.:P

  • Debbie

    Maybe they should add fluoristat for those of us who chew on our pencils. We’d get our flouride and be germ-free.

    TICONDEROGA with Microban and with Fluoristat

  • Leonard

    And coming soon to a soccer field near you: Every kid gets an antimicrobial trophy.

  • cw

    I hate the idea….kids need to be exposed to germs….not toxic chemicals

  • william

    I just threw out a box of my Daughter’s Dixon Ticonderoga “Microban” Pencils – bought from Staples – after reading these posts, and having read the August 19, 2011 NY Times article, ” Antibacterial Chemical Raises Safety Issues “. I mean, really: how can the Executive Leadership and Product Managers at Dixon Ticonderoga justify adding this chemical treatment to their products when there is even a remote chance that the treatment might have an adverse impact on the health of their customers?
    Then there is Staples, who enables the distribution of these pencils. The Buyer at Staples corporate who is responsible for Pencils sales needs to have vendors/supplier scientifically prove that Microban and similar treatments are safe.

    As a consumer, both Staples and Dixon Ticonderoga have lost my trust.

  • Mark

    What I want to know is why don’t they make PENS out of this material??? They have keyboards and mouse but the thing that really gets passed around in an office is PENS! Someone is not thinking clearly there.

  • Wesley Greentree

    I found the same Dixon pencil at my school, in BC, this year!

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  • Wow. Yeah, I have a box of those….not really sure where I stand on the whole issue of microban, or not. Sometimes fears of chemicals are justified, other times not. (Remember the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide!! Lol)

    Still, they could’ve used, like, silver or copper instead. IDK o_0

    PS They come in yellow too.

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