Several brands of crayons and toy crime scene fingerprint kits have been found to contain asbestos, according to tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund.
Amscan Crayons, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons made by Greenbrier International, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons by MII Inc., Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce crayons by Greenbrier International, EduScience Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit black fingerprint powder distributed by Toys”R”Us, and the white fingerprint powder in the Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit from Buy-Rite were found to contain various types of asbestos, including tremolite and chrysotile.
All of these products were made in China and imported to the United States. The report suggests that it is likely the asbestos appeared as a contaminant in talc, used as a binding agent in the crayons and in the powder in the crime scene kits. Asbestos is often found alongside talc deposits when talc is mined.
The findings were reported by Asbestos Nation, a branch of EWG Action Fund dedicated to educating Americans about the dangers of asbestos.
“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 Asbestos Nation.
Although its use has been popularly discouraged, asbestos remains legal in the United States.
EWG Action fund purchased 28 boxes of crayons and 21 crime scene kits for their study. All of them were tested at the Scientific Analytical Institute of Greensboro, N.C. using transmission electron microscopy. Samples that tested positive were sent to a second, unidentified analytical laboratory for verification.
The range of products tested were purchased both in stores and online. The crayons which tested positive were found between February and May 2015 at Party City and Dollar Tree, in a California county near San Francisco. The two crime scene toys were ordered online using Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com.
The crime scene fingerprinting kits were found to contain higher concentrations of asbestos than the crayon samples, and the loose powders can be inhaled more easily than the microscopic asbestos fibers in the crayons. In either case, a single crayon or single powder sample could contain 1 million or more fibers.
There have been no documented cases of people becoming ill from asbestos in crayons or toys, although asbestos has been found in crayons from Crayola and Prang in the past. These were investigated in August of 2000 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which found that risk of inhalation was very low, but that companies should take precautions to remove asbestos fibers from their products.
Filed Under: Materials • advanced