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