Asbestos in crayons

Media release from the Ministry of Health 

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Business, Innovation and EmploymentEnvironmental Protection Authority andMinistry for the Environment have been working together to understand the risks involved with asbestos in crayons and whether the issue is present in New Zealand.

Testing commissioned by the Ministry of Health has confirmed the presence of asbestos in three of the 21 products randomly sampled from the market. The risk to the consumer is considered to be low.

The products found to have asbestos are:

  • Disney – Planes, Fire & Rescue – Double ended crayons
  • Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Art Series – Jumbo Colours 12 Non-Toxic Bright Colours

The results of the Australian testing are available on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission website.The risk assessment of asbestos in crayons as low is based on research undertaken by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which included using simulation testing.

If parents or carers have concerns about their crayons, we recommend checking them against the list attached, or checking with the supplier. If you are still concerned we recommend that you stop using the crayons and dispose of them in your rubbish.

Agencies are in agreement that, while it is currently legal for products to contain asbestos, it is not appropriate for children’s products, such as crayons, to contain asbestos.

Suppliers of these products have been made aware of the issue and may elect to withdraw the products. Crayon suppliers may also have their products tested for asbestos so they can provide assurances to consumers.

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is currently consulting on a proposal to ban the import of asbestos containing products to New Zealand. Crayons are regulated by the EPA under the Graphic Materials Group Standard; however this standard does not specifically prohibit asbestos in these products. If MfE’s import prohibition proceeds, it will apply to all consumer products, including crayons. The EPA group standards review programme will also consider asbestos and will likely result in asbestos being excluded from products covered under group standards.

The CPSC research indicates that the presence of asbestos is linked to the use of talc as a binding agent in the crayons. Talc and asbestos are similar in composition, are naturally occurring and form in similar locations. This can lead to natural cross-contamination and this is believed to be the reason asbestos is being detected in some crayons.

Results of testing

The 21 brands tested were:

  • Disney-Planes Fire & Rescue – Double Ended Crayons
  • Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Crayola Mini Twistables – 8 pieces
  • LEGO Brick – 8 coloured crayons
  • Marvel Ultimate Spider-man – 8 chunky crayons
  • Marvel Ultimate Spider-man – 10 Twistable crayons
  • Disney Princes – Twistable Crayons 10 pack
  • Crayola Twistables Crayons – Mini pack 24
  • 12 piece Non-Toxic Jumbo Crayon
  • DOC McStuffins Double Ended Crayons
  • Disney Frozen Character Art Set
  • 24 Mini Twistables Crayons
  • Marvel Spider-Man Twistable Crayons
  • Mellisa & Doug – Truck Crayon Set
  • Mellisa & Doug – Princes Crayon Set
  • Mellisa & Doug – 10 Jumbo Triangular Crayon Set
  • Mellisa & Doug – 10 Jumbo Flourescent Crayon Set
  • Mellisa & Doug – 24 Triangular Crayon Set
  • Art Series- Jumbo Colors 12 Non – Toxic Bright Colours
  • Smiggle Twist Up Crayons
  • art & craft 12 Jumbo Crayons.

Three of the samples tested contained asbestos These are:

  • Disney – Planes, Fire & Rescue – Double ended crayons
  • Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Art Series – Jumbo Colours 12 Non-Toxic Bright Colours

Further information and images of the relevant packs can be found here


0 Comments Posted by Justine Storey on 18 September 2015

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