A consumer advocacy group is calling on Dollar Tree and other retailers to pull a popular brand of crayons they say contains toxic levels of asbestos, a material found to cause mesothelioma and other deadly types of lung cancer.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) tested 36-packs of Playskool crayons purchased at a Dollar Tree store in Chicago; the crayons are also being sold at online retailers such as Amazon, eBay and DollarDays.com.
While federal law regulates the amount of asbestos allowed in many consumer products, no regulations control the amount of the hazardous material allowed in children’s products, according to Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director for U.S. PIRG.
"There is no reason to be exposing kids to a known carcinogen, especially in crayons," she said.
Playskool’s parent company, Hasbro, and Leap Year Publishing, the crayons’ manufacturer, have said they are investigating the claims and reviewing laboratory tests. Dollar Tree executives said that independent tests have indicated that its crayons do not contain asbestos.
U.S. PIRG also tested five other crayon brands which were found to be asbestos-free: Crayola, Target's Up & Up, Cra-Z-Art, Disney Junior Mickey and the Roadster Racers, and Roseart.
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