A new study released by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund found asbestos in crayons and crime scene fingerprint kits.
The EWG Action Fund tested twenty-eight boxes of crayons and twenty-one crime scene fingerprint kits at the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina. Tested crayons were purchased at Dollar Tree and Party City, while the fingerprint kits were purchased through Amazon and Toys “R” Us.
Using transmission electron microscopy, one of the most accurate methods of testing available, four crayon brands and two fingerprint kits tested positive for containing traces of asbestos. The study revealed up to 1 million asbestos fibers were found in a single crayon sample or crime-scene powder.
The crayon brands that tested positive included Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crayons, Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jumbo Crayons and Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Jumbo Crayons and ones by Amscan. The two crime lab toys that found asbestos were EduScience’s Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit, and Inside Intelligence’s Secret Spy Kit, according to the report. The results were reconfirmed by a second lab.
Though the amount of asbestos found in these toys were small, children use as many as 730 crayons in their first ten years of childhood; with many children chewing or eating crayons. Fingerprint kits contain a loose powder which children can blow or inhale, allowing the small amounts of asbestos into their lungs. Although crayons pose a lower risk than powders, all asbestos should be avoided.
Airborne asbestos fibers are not visible to the naked eye, but are easily inhaled, especially when they are in powder form. These toxic fiber materials can lodge in your lungs and cause scarring inflammation, and breathing impairments. Overtime, it can turn into lung cancer and other serious diseases.
All of the contaminated products were made in China, all using a material called talc. Talc is a binding agent in crayons and an active ingredient in fingerprint powder. Talc may or may not be listed on the product’s label, so you can refer to the full report of items containing talc. To ensure safety, please throw away any items your own on the list.
Although asbestos was banned decades ago, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has known about asbestos in crayons for 15 years. Currently, these products are legal in every state except Connecticut. Companies like Crayola and Rose Art have stopped using talc in their crayons. Congress have been introduced to the READ Act (Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database) which will require manufacturers to disclose the use of asbestos.
If you have questions concerning asbestos containing materials in your home, please contact the Alliance Environmental Group Call Center at 877-858-6220.