Asbestos is a known carcinogen that reportedly kills up to 15,000 Americans every year. And it’s still legal to put it in products. But is was a bit surprising to find asbestos in children’s crayons, according to tests commissioned by EWG Action Fund, a 501(c0(4) organization. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) Action Fund’s mission is to protect the health of people and the environment by educating the public and lobbying on a wide range of environmental issues. Four brands of crayons and two kids’ crime scene fingerprint kits were reported to contain asbestos fibers. It released the information to raise awareness about the asbestos threat in well-known products – from vehicle brakes to building materials and even children’s items. The EWG Action Fund reports that a child exposed to asbestos is 3.5 times more likely than a 25-year-old to develop mesothelioma, a lung disease that is only caused by asbestos. With children returning to school, parents need to be careful in buying back-to-school supplies.
Some of the brands of crayons that were identified to have asbestos are marketed under the names of Mickey Mouse, Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in boxes of 28 crayons that can be bought online or at national retail chains. All of the products were made in China and were imported to the U.S. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has conducted its own tests on crayons and concluded that the risk of exposure to asbestos was “extremely low” and that it would continue to “monitor children’s crayons to ensure they do not present a hazard because asbestos fibers are embedded in the crayon wax and that a children’s body temperature is not warm enough to melt ingested wax and free the fibers. CPSC has not banned or regulated asbestos in crayons, toys or other children’s products. It is reported that by the age of 10, the typical American child wears down 730 crayons, according to Crayola, the largest crayon manufacturer. One of the crime fingerprint kits that was named as containing possible airborne asbestos fibers was the Edu Science Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit. The EWG Action Fund tests were conducted under the direction of Sean Fitzgerald of the Scientific Analytical Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina. To read more about the tests conducted this year, click here.