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Back to School: Asbestos in Crayons

By Anna Low-Beer
Digital Campaigner

Crayons are a beloved part of childhood. Chances are, your children color with them at a favorite restaurant, make artwork with them in a school classroom, and maybe chew on them a little in the back seat of the car. And as kids head back to school this fall, new crayons are on parents’ minds and shopping lists.

But what parents might not know is that a recent study by the Environmental Working Group found four brands of children’s crayons containing dangerous asbestos fibers.[1] Asbestos causes cancer and lung disease,[2] and toxic substances like asbestos have a much greater effect on children than adults.[3]

The study found asbestos in these four popular brands of children’s crayons:

Amscan Crayons

Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 10 Jumbo Crayons

Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons

Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce 10 Jumbo Crayons

See the full report here. 

Although we’ve known about the dangers of asbestos for decades, it is still not banned nationwide,[4] and there has been evidence of asbestos in crayons for years. For example, in 2000, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission released a report that found trace amounts of asbestos in popular brands of children’s crayons, and encouraged crayon companies to remove it.[5] Even though these amounts of asbestos were small, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), “[t]here is no ‘safe’ level of asbestos exposure for any type of asbestos fiber.”[6]

Until asbestos is banned, or at the very least, companies are required to disclose whether there is asbestos in their products, parents need to be vigilant. Avoid the brands listed above, and read the full Environmental Working Group report. Look for crayon brands that have eliminated asbestos from their products, like Crayola and Roseart[7] and have a happy and healthy back to school season.

Have you had an experience with hazardous toys or art supplies for children? Please send your story to annalowbeer@pirg.org



[1]EWG Action Fund, "Tests Find Asbestos in Kid’s Crayons, Crime Scene Kits," 2015

[2]United States Environmental Protection Agency, "Learn About Asbestos," 2013

[3]National Resources Defense Council, "Our Children At Risk," 1997

[4]United States Environmental Protection Agency, "U.S. Federal Bans on Asbestos," 2013

[5]U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, "CPSC Staff Report on Asbestos Fibers in Children's Crayons," 2000

[6]Occupational Safety & Health Administration, "Asbestos," 2014

[7]Healthy Child Healthy World, "Is Asbestos in Your Children's Toys?," 2015

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