Last month, several brands of asbestos-containing crayons were found on the shelves of popular stores across the nation. Yet, after an overwhelming response, the crayons were finally removed, after the urging of Senators Edward Markey and Dick Durbin.
The Environmental Working Group Action Fund (EWG) discovered asbestos in crayons after sending the brands to the Scientific Analytical Institute of Greensboro, North Carolina, an organization that tested each brand. According to the survey results, the following types of crayons were found to contain asbestos:
- Disney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons
- Amscan Crayons
- Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons
- Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons
According to Sonya Lunde, a senior researcher with EWG, not only is there no safe amount of asbestos, but this is a case in which exposing children to harm never should have happened.
“This is an exposure that could easily be avoided. The threshold for exposing a kid to a carcinogenic chemical when they’re playing with toys should be zero.”
After urging from the public and the EWG action fund group, Senators Dick Durbin (D-III) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sent letters to the retails stores that were selling the crayons, including Party City, Toys R Us, and Dollar Tree, urging them to remove all brands of crayons that contain asbestos.
Afterward, both senators released a statement indicating that the stores complied and removed all four brands of crayons.
“We commend these four companies for their good corporate citizenship and commitment to protecting children and families from contaminated products. In order to ensure toxic products never again reach the hands of America’s children, the [Consumer Product Safety Commission] CPSC should ban talc from children’s products and issue a rule on asbestos modeled on the existing rules for lead and phthalates in toys.”
Both senators were also active in introducing a new law in March, 2015. Known as the The Reducing Exposure to Asbestos Database (READ) Act, it aims to totally redo how asbestos findings is reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Durbin states that in the past, reports of asbestos to the EPA only needed to occur once, but the new act requires annual updates, specifically for asbestos-containing products that are imported, processed, or manufactured.
Durbin hopes that the new regulations will help the public better understand just how dangerous asbestos is, and in turn, take steps to spread awareness and eliminate as much as exposure as possible. Asbestos still remains legal in the United States today.
“Every year, far too many Americans and their families suffer the deadly consequences of asbestos exposure. This information will increase awareness, reduce exposure, and help save lives.”
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