Parents shopping for school supplies should be aware that some back-to-school items may contain or emit toxic ingredients or fumes, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). Asbestos fibers have been found embedded in the wax of some crayon brands, and some dry erase markers tested positive for carcinogenic BTEX chemicals, like benzene, xylene and toluene.
In 2015, PIRG testing of many major brands of crayons revealed several – including Rose Art and Crayola – contained asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that has been linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare but deadly form of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen and other internal organs. Since 2015, many crayon manufacturers have reformulated their products to remove any traces of asbestos. But recent tests showed that trace amounts of asbestos remained in Playskool crayons, sold at Dollar Tree.
PIRG also found dry erase markets made by Expo and The Board Dudes contained chemicals like benzene, xylene and toluene. Benzene, in particular, has been linked to blood cancers, like acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Also alarming is that two types of water bottles marketed for children that were previously recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission because the bottles contained lead were still available for purchase at Costco online by an NBC News reporter.
Playskool is owned by Hasbro and licensed by LeapYear. A spokesperson for LeapYear said the company is aware of the PIRG report that reveals its crayons contain trace amounts of asbestos and is “reviewing our own certified lab testing, which to our knowledge, passes all regulatory requirements and had no detectable asbestos.” The company said it would issue a formal statement when it completed its review.
Source: CBS News