Asbestos in popular crayons

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Safe shopping for children essential

Naturally, every parent wishes to believe that the toys and art supplies they purchase for their children are safe and toxin free.

Crayons, textas and pencils are of especial concern for parents and teachers of preschool age children because these children can suck or chew their drawing implements.

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Health warning regarding certain crayons

I recently received a warning message from the Department of Education and Child Development. It said that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had tested a range of popular crayons marketed specifically for children and identified traces of asbestos. Independent testing also identified asbestos in several other brands.

Products identified as containing asbestos included:

  • Dora the Explorer Personalized 32 pack crayons
  • Dora the Explorer Jumbo crayons
  • Arti Crafti 16 piece crayons
  • Peppa Pig 8 wax crayons
  • Disney ‘Frozen’ Jumbo Crayons
  • Disney ‘Mickey Mouse and Friends’ Crayons


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What are the risks?

The message went on to state that the asbestos was "fully bound in the crayon wax" and therefore "asbestos fibres would not be released during normal use". Children who swallow the crayons may be protected by the fact that "the melting point of crayon wax is well above body temperature".

Therefore these crayons are classed as "very low risk".

Note that it says "normal use". This is use not involving heat. Melting the crayon down to make another crayon, using crayon shavings to colour candles and/or ironing crayon pictures to make them transfer onto another sheet or item of clothing may not be safe. I would recommend the purchase of certified non-toxic crayons for these craft uses.


Return to the shop

It is however, recommended that the crayons be placed in a "zip-lock" plastic bag and returned to the store where you purchased them for a refund.

According to Smart Company, the Australian Border Force is preventing imports of these products and retailers have been warned to expect consumers approaching them for refunds.

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Warning current at 22 September 2015

This warning was current at 22 September 2015. Many retailers will be withdrawing the products from sale.

If the companies manufacturing the crayons improve the formulae it may be safe to purchase the products with their label in the future. If in doubt, contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Standards Australia or the relevant safety authority in your country.


Further information

See also: https://www.accc.gov.au/update/accc-statement-on-asbestos-in-crayons#fig1

http://www.smartcompany.com.au/legal/48375-shady-imports-peppa-pig-disney-and-dora-the-explorer-crayons-found-to-contain-asbestos.html

http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/officeworks-pulls-crayons-from-shelves-amidst-asbestos-fears-20150911-gjkpac.html

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Comments 4 comments

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 14 months ago from Home Sweet Home

there are toxins in crayons? Should wrap up tissue paper around the crayons


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 14 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Hello Cecelia, what's the country of origin of these crayons?

We had - might still have - a spate of toys or children's recreational implements from the Far East that proved fatal for some. There's a lack of quality control in some of the Far Eastern states that allows a whole raft of shoddy goods into export containers.

The upshot of that is that goods from these countries are blocked, or should be. Importers do not check their goods at point of entry, leaving it to postal or customs inspectors to warn them. Importers have a duty to customers in the face of non-existent quality control to send back faulty goods, but don't always.


creativearts2009 profile image

creativearts2009 14 months ago Author

I am not an expert on the country of origin, but the Sydney Morning Herald identifies these crayons as originating from China. Check your packet for Chinese manufacture.


creativearts2009 profile image

creativearts2009 14 months ago Author

Peachpurple: thank you for your comment. The crayons may be safe to use for normal colouring in... but wrapping in tissue probably won't provide enough protection. If heated or burnt the tissue would burn. You need to decide whether to supervise your children using them till they are used all up or dispose of them safely.

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