That smell is called off gassing. All the chemicals in those items are pouring their smell or gas into your children's' class room. I once had the opportunity to meet an air quality scientist from Canada that told me if we ever could test the air in our children's classrooms, we would find a chemical cocktail. No wonder our kids are suffering from an amazing outbreak of asthma and allergies.
So what can we do to help our kids get though the chemical filled first days of school? Try checking with your school district and see if they have any plans to check the air quality in the school during the first week (or days). of school. Also, try to buying "green" items and share your finds with other parents and even the PTA! Write an article like this one- or just direct your friends here - so you can raise awareness. Awareness is the best solution. No one thinks about the fact that the smells we smell from our new clothes and shoes can actually be doing damage to our kids lungs! Who would have thought!