In 2000, the BBC reported Crayola brand crayons contained “trace” amounts of asbestos.
The amount of asbestos in the crayon was described as “so small it is scientifically insignificant.”
In a simulation of a child vigorously colouring using a crayon for half an hour, no fibres were released into the air.
Because they are embedded in wax, even if swallowed, they would pass through the child’s body.
However, the experts concluded it was still undesireable for the fibres to be in the children’s crayons into the long term.
CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said: “The risk is low but the concerns with these fibres should not be ignored.”
A spokesman for Binney and Smith said: “Parents can be assured, that there is no risk to children from Crayola Crayons. We put safety first, second and third. Trading Standards officers have declared the product safe for use.”http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1033791.stm
15 years later, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund has found asbestos still exists in crayons. http://www.krcrtv.com/asbestos-found-in-crayons-toy-crime-lab-kits/34056356
Asbestos is a mineral that occurs naturally on earth. It is often used in products for its heat and fire resistance qualities, such as car brake pads. Starting in the 1970s, asbestos bans began in certain products because the mineral was a known human carcinogen. By 1989, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new applications of asbestos but prior uses were grandfathered. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet
Clearly crayons do not need to be fire or heat resistance. Asbestos found in crayons is not put there intentionally. Asbestos contamination comes from talc used in the crayons. The talc contains naturally occurring asbestos. After asbestos was discovered in crayons 15 years ago, US manufacturers voluntarily agreed to remove talc from crayon ingredients. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/substances/asbestos/asbestos-fact-sheet But what about crayons manufactured overseas?
The EWG Action Fund tested four crayon brands positively for asbestos (two crime scene fingerprint kids tested positively as well).
The four brands of crayons containing asbestos were purchased at the Party Place, Amazon, ToysRUs and Dollar Tree. The brands to avoid are:
- Amscan Crayons
- Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
- Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons
- Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
The test results make a scary picture: a child exposed to asbestos is 3.5 more likely than a 25-year-old to develop mesothelioma, a lung disease, that is only caused by asbestos, because of the long lag time between exposure and diagnosis, according to the U.K. Committee on Carcinogenicity
“Asbestos in toys poses an unacceptable risk to children, today as it did in 2000 and 2007, the last time tests found the deadly substance in these children’s products,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told EWG Action Fund. Landrigan is an internationally- recognized expert in the area of asbestos and other toxic materials and a former senior adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on children’s environmental health. http://www.asbestosnation.org/facts/tests-find-asbestos-in-kids-crayons-crime-scene-kits/
Any amount of asbestos in children’s products is unacceptable. Health risks must outweigh profits. Always purchase children’s products from companies you trust.