Image of a Box of Crayons
Box of Crayons; image courtesy of Free-Photos via Pixabay,

It’s back to school time, which means parents are venturing out to collect all the items on their children’s back to school shopping lists. However, there is one item parents should avoid for the time being, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). Earlier this week, the U.S. PIRG revealed that a 36-pack of Playskool crayons currently being sold at Dollar Tree, Amazon, and eBay “tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos.”

In the report, the U.S. PIRG stated:

“We tested six types of crayons for asbestos and one tested positive for tremolite: Playskool crayons (36 count) that we purchased at Dollar Tree. We tested the green color crayon. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and can lead to serious health conditions, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Pictures of the tremolite fibers taken from the laboratory are included in Appendix A.”

Image of a Dollar Tree in Northwood, Ohio
Dollar Tree in Northwood, Ohio; image courtesy of
Niceckhart via Wikimedia Commons,

As a result of the findings, the research group is urging “Dollar Tree and Playskool to recall the crayons and remove the product from store shelves.” Additionally, the group also wants proper warnings to be sent to customers so they can avoid the potentially contaminated crayons this back to school season. In fact, Kara Cook-Schultz, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Toxics Director, said:

“Based on our testing, we know that most manufacturers make safe school supplies. We’re calling on the makers of unsafe products to get rid of toxic chemicals and protect American schoolchildren.”

In response to the report, Playskool’s parent company, Hasbro, issued the following statement:

“Product and children’s safety are top priorities for Hasbro. We are conducting a thorough investigation into these claims, including working with Leap Year, the licensee of the product.”

Dollar Tree also released the following statement regarding the report:

“The safety of our customers and associates is our top priority. Our company utilizes a very stringent and independent testing program to ensure our supplier products meet or exceed all safety and legal standards. We are aware of the report and have since re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing.”

Just how dangerous is exposure to asbestos, though? Well, according to the EPA, exposure to asbestos is only possible when “asbestos-containing material is disturbed and particles become airborne.” Nonetheless, the U.S. PIRG is urging parents to be vigilant about their child’s safety, which includes avoiding the 36-pack of Playskool crayons. What do you think? Should Dollar Tree and Playskool issue a formal recall of the crayons?


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