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Clark Fralick wrote:
> What's going on. I saw a report on NBC saying there was asbestos in
> crayons. Is this a real danger? Does anyone know any more?
TV and its sound bites! All Things Considered had a lengthy report that
asbestos fibers have been detected in not just Crayola (which is why I changed
the subject line), but Prang and Roseart crayons as well. Asbestos is NOT an
ingredient in the crayons, but is believed to be a contaminant in the talc
used in the crayons. They're not sure if the amount of asbestos in the
crayons is an actual health risk, though of course with young children
using/nibbling them, it's a definite possibility. One researcher interviewed
said when they went into preschool and looked at how the crayons were being
used, they often found a thick layer of small crayon particles in the bottom
of the buckets they were stored in. They do not know yet if the particles
contain asbestos fibers small enough to be inhaled, but with children playing
with it, and often chewing on the crayons, they advised caution.
Asbestos is not a problem unless it has broken down to the point where it can
be inhaled (the term is "friable"). An asbestos testing firm told me (after
examining the asbestos floor tile in my apt.) we breathe more asbestos walking
down a city street than from most other sources; asbestos is used for brake
pads, and the constant braking on city streets scrapes off and releases small
particles of asbestos into the air. He also told me that unless you're
working in an asbestos mine, or an industry that uses a lot of asbestos in
manufacturing, or your asbestos insulation or ceiling tiles are crumbling,
you're not being exposed to harmful amounts.
In the classroom, I would not panic, but err on the side of caution. Any
asbestos particles are probably bound up in the wax of the crayons pretty
well, but you should of course keep the crayons out of their mouths--they're
petroleum-based, anyway, and that's probably as bad--and dump out the small
particles that collect.
Hope this helps.
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