September 22, 2019

Asbestos Found in Surprising Places, Children’s Crayons

In early 2000, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that three brands of children’s crayons, Crayola by Binney and Smith, Prang by Dixon Ticonderoga and Rose Art, all contained asbestos fibers in amounts ranging from 0.03% to 2.86%. They reportedly determined this finding using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM).

The types of asbestos found included tremolite, chrysolite and anthophyllite. This asbestos was believed to be contained in the talc used as a binding agent in the crayons.

Although the Creative Materials Institute, the company that tests crayon safety, initially stated that these findings were incorrect, they later admitted that they did not test for asbestos in crayons.

After these findings were released, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proceeded to test these crayons in order to test for their safety. They did find amthophyllite and other transitional fiber types in the crayons.

CPSC concluded that even with rigorous crayon use or ingestion, it was unlikely that these fibers were unlikely to be a risk to children and other crayon users. Nonetheless, the CPSC requested that the three crayon companies reformulate their products to exclude talc from future use.

In June 2000, the companies agreed to discontinue their use of talc in all crayon products. Ongoing monitoring of crayons has continued in order to ensure that crayons do not present a risk to children.

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