It appeared that the asbestos found in many brands of crayon in 2015 had been remedied, but this brand still tests positive. Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director at U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), revealed, “The good news is that when we were testing three years ago, all sorts of brands came back with asbestos. Now it’s just this one.”
Though there were trace amounts found, there is no safe level of asbestos. Children tend to put crayons in their mouths and could breathe fibers transferred to the coloring surface. These fibers can cause breathing problems and even cancer – though these would be discovered years or decades in the future.
While Dollar Tree maintains that independent testing of all their products for children showed they met all legal and safety standards, Hasbro, owner of Playskool, said they will investigate the claim and will work alongside Leap Year that licenses the products.
While U.S. PIRG found the majority of products tested were free of toxins this year, there were some, in addition to the Playskool crayons, that parents and teachers should avoid as they prepare for back to school.
Children’s products to avoid:
• Blue three-ring binders made by Jot and sold at Dollar Tree tested positive for phthalates, a substance linked with asthma, obesity and lower-IQ scores, for instance.
• Dry erase markers made by Expo and The Board Dudes tested positive for carcinogenic BTEX chemicals, such as benzene, xylene, and toluene.
• Additionally, two types of children’s water bottles were previously recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for containing lead — Reduce Hydro Pro Furry Friends water bottle, sold at Costco and Amazon, and GSI Outdoors Children’s Water Bottles, sold at L.L. Bean. Despite the recall, a CBS New reporter was able to order the Hydro Pro Furry Friends product from Costco online.
The good news
By knowing this information, you can buy clean brands with confidence. In the case of crayons – Crayola, Rose Art, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other brands were declared safe.