While it’s been known for decades that there is asbestos in many building products, insulation materials, boilers, ships, and car parts, few people realized that asbestos also shows up in childrens’ toys. A recent article at asbestosnation.org has exposed this danger publicly.
Since 2000, Federal health authorities have known that some crayon brands made in China and imported into the United States are contaminated with asbestos fibers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission conducted its own confirmation tests on crayons concluding that the risk of exposure was “extremely low”, but “as a precaution, crayons should not contain these [asbestos] fibers.” However, as of July 2015, there has been no ban or regulation of asbestos in childrens’ toys, crayons, or other products. In 2007, asbestos was also found in children’s crime scene fingerprint powder.
While the risk may seem low, the stakes are high. Children exposed to asbestos are 3.5 more likely to develop mesothelioma, a deadly lung disease, than a 25-year-old. This is due to a long latent period between the exposure and a diagnosis. In any circumstance where asbestos fibers can be released and inhaled, there is danger. There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.
Dr. Philip Landrigan, professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and an internationally-recognized asbestos expert and former senior adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on children’s environmental health is adament in his opinion on this issue. “Asbestos in toys poses an unacceptable risk to children today as it did in 2000 and 2007, the last time tests found the deadly substance in these children’s products.
Clearly, some toy manufacturers haven’t done enough to protect children and others from asbestos in consumer products. Therefore, it’s high time the federal government bans asbestos in consumer products.” Connecticut residents should commend their state for being the only state to ban asbestos in children’s toys and other items geared to children under the age of 16.
What can you do to protect your children?
• Check the brands of crayons used at your schools
• Carefully check the crayons handed out in restaurants
• Be especially vigilant about toys that contain powders, such as the fingerprint kits