Crayons And Asbestos: Trace Amounts Of Asbestos Found In Children's Art Materials

First Posted: Jul 12, 2015 04:28 PM EDT

Health officials have found cancer-causing asbestos fibers in a range of children's crayons which are available online in Australia. Many of the crayons feature popular fantasy characters including Mickey Mouse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, according to a release from Asbestos Nation.  

The crayons are made by the Chinese company Amscan, as well as two science kits for children that were found to contain asbestos. The substance was found in four of 28 boxes of crayons and two of the kids' fingerprinting kits that can be purchased online. 

Though the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has noted that children's risk of asbestos in crayons is "extremely low," with asbestos fibres embedded in the crayon wax, the fingerprint powder holds higher risk, which could more easily be inhaled. Crayola also noted that many children use as many as 730 crayons before the age of 10, with some even chewing or eating them.

Environmental health advocates warn that there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, otherwise known as a group of naturally occurring minerals with microscopic fibers that have been linked to lung problems and even cancer. 

"The right number of children's toys that should be contaminated with a carcinogen is zero," noted Sonya Lunder, lead author of the study and senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, which is based in Washington, D.C., and has offices in Oakland.

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