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Lesson Plans


Re: Crayons and Asbestos


From: Maggie White (mwhiteaz)
Date: Wed May 24 2000 - 07:17:20 PDT

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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?
    >
    > Clark

    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.

    Maggie

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