Hey, it seems Mickey Mouse isn’t so innocent after all, as his name is all over products with cancer-causing asbestos in Chinese-crayons and toys. And he seems to be the leader of a coalition hell-bent on giving cancer to our kids. The coalition includes crayons and toys with such figures as: the TMNT, the Power Rangers, the Monsters from Monsters Inc., and even Spider-Man.
How did such a bunch of vigilante good-doers come to be led by a mouse? I don’t know. Yet, more importantly, how did the crayons and toys partake to this asbestos infestation?
The project to “damask” these toys was undertaken by the Environmental Working Group, better known as the EWO. After their findings, they are already calling for a permanent ban on the crayons to be enforced.
The team of researchers selected about 28 crayons and 21 toys from no-name producers, the best known of which would be Amscan Crayons. The crayons and fingerprint toy kits were bought from several different distributors, including Amazon, Toys “R” Us, as well as real-life retail stores from the Contra Costa County in California. The preliminary hypothesis being more than worrying, the EWO forwarded their investigation and findings to the North Carolinian Scientific Analytical Institute, based in Greensboro, for further testing of the toys.
Although not many tested positive for asbestos (only 4 of 28 crayons, and 2 of 21 toys), the results are still not to be ignored. Previous US tests, from eight and fifteen years ago, had also shown asbestos in China-imported toys and crayons, so the agencies already knew what to look for. This makes the results even more worrying since it shows that the manufacturers still choose to ignore the asbestos ban in the U.S.
Exposure to asbestos dust for long periods of time is shown to have very bad effects, including causing lung cancer, asbestosis, as well as mesothelioma.
However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission of the U.S. notes that the risk for children to become infected from crayons is relatively low. It is more likely from crime sets, though, which contain an asbestos based powder for fingerprints. The powder, naturally, can easily get to the lungs. Yet even crayons pose a risk – as many kids have an inherent chewing habit, normal for their age. Studies show children use up to 730 crayons before reaching ten years of age.
OSHA, or the Office of Occupational Safety & Health Administration, has warned that occupationally working with asbestos, as kids often see their drawing hobby as an occupation, poses grave health risks, including injury and disease.
Sonya Lunder, with the EWO and the study’s lead author, said that the only number of carcinogenic elements in children’s toys should be zero. As it is logical, we cannot help but agree with her.