Crayons Laced With Asbestos, a Known Carcinogen are Being  Sold to Children in America


According to research commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of Washington, D.C., asbestos fibers and dust were found in four brands of children’s crayons and in toy crime kits.

Manufacturers are using contaminated ingredients from sources, including talc, know to contain asbestos minerals and thus fibers. The history of the crayon is not entirely clear. The word "crayon" dates to 1644, coming from (chalk) and the Latin word creta (earth).

The attorneys at Wallace & Graham P.A. continue to be amazed and befuddled by the evidence that many corporations, long on notice about the hazards of asbestos, simply do not test or screen or even require the out-sourced manufacturer to do so. It is not expensive to test and it is worth the time and effort. How many children create dust when they use, chew, sniff, sharpen, crush or otherwise destroy their colorful crayons creating a potential hazard? We won’t know for decades due to the latency of the disease. Prevention must begin now.

The Scientific Analytical Institute of Greensboro, NC, an independent laboratory, tested a total of 28 boxes of crayons. Four of the boxes contained asbestos a known dangerous carcinogen. The crayons were labeled with such popular characters as Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They do not describe their ingredients or their sources on the package.

Out of the 21 toy crime scene fingerprint kits tested, two came back positive for asbestos. While that may not seem significant one must consider that low level exposures have been shown to lead to the development of asbestos related disease. In young children, who are still growing and developing, this risk is just too great. The crime scene fingerprint test is specifically a powdery dust sprinkled on the fingerprint to highlight the edges of the print. This talc or fingerprint dust, in two sets, contained a carcinogenic dust that is blown off the image and is so light in weight that it is suspended airborne for a long time allowing repeated exposure opportunities.

“This is an exposure that could easily be avoided. The threshold for exposing a kid to a

carcinogenic chemical when they’re playing with toys should be zero,” said the EWG’s Senior

Researcher, Sonya Lunder. The toys essentially contain microscopic asbestos fibers that children may end up inhaling as they use them. The right number of children’s toys that should be contaminated with a carcinogen is zero,” said Sonya Lunder, lead author of the study and senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group

Amazingly, and against common sense, there’s actually no ban on asbestos being in crayons by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). All of the tested products with the contaminated material were manufactured in China. The manufacturers, instead of taking responsibility and mandating testing by their suppliers, simply try to behave like it’s incredibly tough and expensive to monitor each component of the supply chain for hazards in its product. Profit over people is once again the mantra.

This is one more reason the attorneys at Wallace & Graham continue to aggressively hold these companies accountable for the harm they cause. The companies are on notice of this harm yet seem to bury their heads like an ostrich.

“Children’s playtime should be filled with fun, not asbestos,” said U.S. Senator Markey Durbin, who asked retailers to voluntarily recall “toxic products” on July 8. “We need greater access to information about where asbestos is present in products children and families use every day.”

The CPSC is looking into the investigation’s results, but a lot needs to happen before anything can be done. The probability the asbestos will be a risk to our health is the main item to consider.

Environmental health advocates said there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, a group of naturally occurring minerals with microscopic fibers. The fibers can accumulate in the lungs and have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

The U.S. Department of Labor also states that there is no “safe” amount of exposure to asbestos. Out of the five distributors of the contaminated products, only Toys “R” Us was willing to reply to TIME Magazine’s request for comment. The company is now “reviewing the referenced report, along with supplier test reports, to ensure full compliance to our strict safety standards.”

“The lesson here is that parents can’t just read labels and choose safer products by looking at the labels themselves,” said Lunder. “There’s not enough information about where asbestos might be found.” The group purchased the products in March and April and said it had sent them to an accredited laboratory for testing. It sent samples that tested positive for asbestos to a second lab for confirmation.

If you or your family have any questions about your legal rights as consumers or for any injury caused by a defective product please do not hesitate to contact the Attorneys at Wallace & Graham P.A. at 1-800-849-5291. The firm has a long history of fighting for individuals who have been injured or damaged by defective products.

asbestos, asbestos carcinogens, Mesothelioma

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