How asbestos may have ended up in a popular children’s crayon

This article looks at how asbestos can end up in crayons and other talc-containing products.

As the New York Times reports, a recently released report by a consumer advocacy group found that a popular children's crayon contains asbestos and that other children's products test positive for dangerous chemicals, including benzene. The study raises questions about the safety of children's products, especially given that the researchers found that four out of just 27 products tested positive for dangerous chemicals. It also will likely lead many to wonder how asbestos could possibly end up in a children's crayon in the first place.

Dangerous chemicals in kids' products

The study by the United States Public Interest Research Group Education Fund had an independent laboratory test 27 popular back-to-school products. Of those tested, four came back positive for dangerous chemicals. A non-erase marker produced by The Board Dudes and purchased on Amazon, for example, tested positive for benzene, which is a known carcinogen.

Perhaps most alarming was the fact that a green Playskool crayon which was purchased at Dollar Tree tested positive for tremolite, which is a form of asbestos. The crayon is available as part of a set of 36. Tremolite is known to cause many different types of asbestos-related cancers and other diseases. Given that relatively few products were actually tested, there are fears that many other children's products could also unknowingly contain dangerous chemicals.

How asbestos gets into crayons

While the presence of asbestos in a crayon is shocking, it is not entirely surprising given the manufacturing process that goes into creating crayons. As The Atlantic points out, one of the key ingredients in crayons is talc, which is a naturally occurring mineral. Talc deposits are often mined adjacent to asbestos deposits, which means that the risk of cross-contamination is high.

While there are regulations to ensure that talc is refined in such a way that all traces of asbestos are removed, it is difficult to enforce these regulations on all companies, especially those operating overseas. Many mining companies in China, for example, have been accused of not doing enough to keep asbestos out of talc. Talc is also found in many other household products, including cosmetics and baby powder, and a number of ongoing lawsuits claim that talc baby powders are linked to cancer.

Help for asbestos exposure victims

There is no such thing as safe exposure to asbestos and diseases linked to asbestos can manifest decades after the initial exposure. However, there is help for asbestos victims. Anybody suffering from an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma, should contact a personal injury attorney that is well experienced in handling asbestos cases. Such an attorney can assist clients with pursuing the compensation they may ultimately be entitled to claim.