Certain crayons and a toy fingerprint testing kit have been found to be contaminated with asbestos. The toys were imported from China and the products tested were found in retail stores and online stores, including Party City, Dollar Tree, and Toys R’ Us. The retail stores were located primarily in the Bay Area of California.
The crayons affected were Amscan Crayons, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons, and Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce crayons. The fingerprint powders of two Crime Lab kits, Eduscience Deluxe forensics Lab Kit, and Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit, were affected.
The full investigative report can be found here.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral which is composed of large numbers of small fibers. The fibers that it is composed of cause damage to lung tissues when inhaled, potentially causing a condition called mesothelioma as well as lung cancer and other breathing problems. Asbestos is most dangerous as a powder, as the particles can easily get into people’s lungs.. This makes the powder from the crime lab kit particularly dangerous, as children could easily inhale it. Children are also more susceptible to exposure from hazardous materials than adults, in part thanks to their small size meaning small amounts of toxins will have more effect. The concentration of asbestos in the crime lab kit was as high as 1%, a relatively high amount especially considering it is a powder.
Contaminated talc is the source of the asbestos found in these toys. Talc deposits are often contaminated with asbestos in mines. US crayon companies had previously been involved in a scandal over asbestos in the talc used in their crayons in 2000. Talc contaminated with asbestos had been found in crayons from several major manufacturers including Crayola and the companies had promised to remove talc from their crayons. Asbestos in the talc could potentially be released as the crayon is used or if a child puts the crayon in their mouth.
Asbestos has been known as a health hazard since the 1930s, and was largely banned or phased out of production by the 1990s in most developed nations. The US has not totally banned its use, but it is regulated as a toxic substance. However, in many other nations it is still used, including China, where the products were manufactured.
Several US Senators are calling for a voluntary recall of the products involved as well as advocating for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish rules on asbestos in toys similar to those bans on lead or phthalates in toys. Obviously, a product known to be hazardous for decades has no place in children’s toys.
For more information, call Philadelphia product liability lawyers at Galfand Berger at 800-222-8792 or contact us online.