With asbestos found in crayons and other children’s toys, an environmental working group demonstrates the need for stricter rules regarding toy production.
EWG Action Fund, which is affiliated to the Environmental Working Group, has tested out 28 different boxes of crayons from several brands and has identified the presence of asbestos in 4 of these boxes. Then 21 toy crime lab kits were tested and out of these, 2 appeared to bear asbestos.
Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Crayons and Amscan Crayons were the crayon brands whose items were found positive for asbestos. And Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit and EduScience Delux Forensics Lab Kit were the crime scene lab kit brands that included toy finger print powder that contained asbestos.
While the crayons were not from specific name brands, but just packed in kid-friendly boxes, one of the toy lab kits was from renowned toy maker Toys”R”Us, which is taking the matter very seriously. Company officials have said that they are looking into the results of the EWG Action Fund report and that they will corroborate the results with testing performed at their suppliers’ headquarters, in order to make sure that their strict safety policies are respected in full.
According to Asbestos Nation, the substance that contained the toxic compound that was found in both products was the talk. It seems that the talk is used in the production of the finger print powder form the crime scene test kit and also as a binding agent in the production of the crayons.
The EWG Action Fund research team employed transmission electron microscopy, which is the most sensitive testing method currently available and then re-tested the samples that tested positive in a second laboratory, so as to make sure that their results were accurate. The levels of asbestos that were identified in the toys were low and therefore they pose a low risk for the children who might have come into contact with similar products. But when it comes to children, such risks should be completely abolished.
Exposure to asbestos has been linked with serious lung diseases and even lung cancer; therefore, it is quite a sizable risk to allow children to be exposed regularly to such a dangerous chemical. The level of exposure and the specific conditions that lead to asbestos-borne diseases has not been clearly documented, as the compound comes in various shapes and sizes. However, limiting the children’s exposure to such chemicals all together seems like an absolutely crucial measure.
“The threshold for exposing a kid to a carcinogenic chemical when they’re playing with toys should be zero.” perfectly points out EWG senior researcher, Sonya Lunder. “The lesson here is that parents can’t just read labels and choose safer products by looking at the labels themselves”.
Until stricter and more specific safety policies are developed so that toys may be kept completely asbestos free, parents are advised to stick to name brands because there is a far larger chance that they impose more comprehensive measures in order to keep their products safe for children.
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