A new report from an environmental health advocacy group said crayons and other toys sold in the United States are laced with asbestos.
A recent investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund said the contaminated crayons were purchased from February to May 2015 from Party City and Dollar Tee, located near San Francisco. They include:
– Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crayons
– Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jumbo Crayons
– Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Jumbo Crayons
The crime scene toys were purchased through Amazon.com and ToysRUs.com. The crime lab toys found containing asbestos were:
– EduScience’s Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit
– Inside Intelligence’s Secret Spy Kit
According to the package labels, the items were made in China and imported in the U.S. All positive results were reconfirmed by a second independent lab, EWG said.
Results of laboratory tests showed four out of the 28 boxes of crayons contained asbestos, while two out of 22 crime-scene kits had them. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber useful in manufacturing because of its resistance to heat. But it impacts breathing and runs the risk of getting lung cancer. Data from the World Health Organization said over 100,000 people die annually from asbestos-related deaths.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has regulations over asbestos levels in many of the consumer products sold in the country. But crayons aren’t part of them.
The EWG noted that the asbestos concentration levels found in the crime-scene kits were as high as one percent.
“This is an exposure that could easily be avoided,” Sonya Lunder, EWG senior researcher and one of the study’s authors, said. “The threshold for exposing a kid to a carcinogenic chemical when they’re playing with toys should be zero.”
The U.S. Department of Labor pointed out there really is no “safe” level of exposure for asbestos fibers, while the National Cancer Institute said risks from asbestos happen from direct and repeated exposure over time.
“Children’s playtime should be filled with fun, not asbestos,” U.S. Senators Edward Markey of Democrat and Dick Durbin of Illinois said in a statement. “We need greater access to information about where asbestos is present in products children and families use every day.”