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Crayons, other toys caused asbestos exposure

Coloring books, blank sheets of paper and handfuls of crayons are go-to entertainment sources for the vast majority of children in Ohio, and as the new school year looms ahead, many parents are purchasing crayons based upon school supply lists. While crayons might seem like just another innocuous staple of childhood, a recent recall indicates that several brands harbored the deadly toxin asbestos. Asbestos exposure is well known for causing serious illnesses, including cancer and lung disease.

Aside from asbestos-laden crayons, the EWG Action Fund -- which is connected to the Environmental Working Group -- also found asbestos in certain crime lab toy kits. Consumers have been cautioned about purchases of these products from Party City, Dollar Tree, Toys R Us and Amazon. The discovery was made after the EWG Action Fund enlisted the help of an outside lab to actually run tests on dozens of children's crayon packages and crime kits, although it is not clear exactly why these products were suspected of being contaminated.

While the crayons harboring asbestos are certainly of concern, the toy crime labs may be even more troubling. Asbestos is at its most dangerous when it can be inhaled, giving it easy access to the lungs. The kits that tested positive for asbestos both contained dusting powder for locating fingerprints, making them especially dangerous for the children who used them.

Asbestos exposure is often thought of as a problem for construction workers or employees who were exposed decades ago, but this simply does not reflect reality. Although there are stringent policies for products imported from other countries, these policies are not necessarily followed or adhered to as closely as they should be, and defective or dangerous products continue to make their way onto shelves in Ohio and across the country. When a child is put at risk for serious injury or illness by a dangerously manufactured product, parents retain the right to take action through a product liability suit. When successfully navigated to completion, parents can achieve just legal recourse for any related damages that their child or family might have suffered.

Source: CNN, "Asbestos found in crayons, toy crime lab kits", Liza Lucas, July 8, 2015

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