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Asbestos Discovered in Crayons, Says U.S. PIRG

U.S. Public Research Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) shocked the world last year when it announced that it had discovered asbestos in makeup kits for tweens and teens manufactured by the now bankrupt Claire’s accessories chain. Now, the same group says asbestos has been found in another popular product for kids—crayons. The brand of crayons, known as Playskool, is sold in a 36-pack at Dollar Tree and on Amazon, and eBay. According to PIRG, crayons sold at a Dollar Tree store in Chicago tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos.

According to a report by WGN-9 News Chicago, PIRG says that it "tested six types of crayons for asbestos.” The group reported that one tested positive for tremolite—Playskool crayons (36 count), that was purchased at Dollar Tree. “We tested the green color crayon,” explains PIRG. “Pictures of the tremolite fibers taken from the laboratory are included in Appendix A.”

Asbestos is a known carcinogen that is considered dangerous in any amount or level of exposure. Breathing in asbestos fibers can lead to serious health conditions including asbestosis, lung cancer, and the often-fatal mesothelioma.

“The research group is calling on Dollar Tree and Playskool to recall the crayons and remove the product from store shelves,” reports WGN. “They also recommended the company contact customers to warn them about the product.”

“Based on our testing,” said PIRG Toxics Director, Kara Cook-Schultz, “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.”

At the time of the discovery, Hasbro, the parent company of Playskool issued a statement stating that it was conducting a thorough investigation into the claims made by PIRG, including working with the licensee of the product, Leap Year. Dollar Tree also issued a statement stating that it had tested the listed products, and re-verified that each successfully passed inspection and testing.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Because there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos, even a small amount can lead to serious disease such as mesothelioma. Your doctor will evaluate your risk and set up a monitoring plan that could help detect disease sooner.

Early detection often leads to better treatment options and outcomes, so talk to your doctor about your risk today.



Kary, Tiffany, Katie Linsell and Emma Orr. “Claire’s Becomes Latest Retailer to Go Bankrupt.” Bloomberg Business, Bloomberg L.P., 19 Mar. 2018. Web. 13 Aug. 2018.

LaMotte, Sandee. “Claire's pulls children's makeup kits over asbestos concerns.” CNN Health, Cable News Network, 29 Dec. 2017. Web. 13 Aug. 2018.

Tribune Media Wire. “Asbestos found in Playskool crayons, group says.” WGN-9 News Chicago, Tribune Broadcasting, 08 Aug. 2018. Web. 13 Aug. 2018.

Weiss, Suzannah. “Asbestos Reportedly Found in Claire's Makeup, Study Says.” Teen Vogue, Conde Nast, 14 Mar. 2018. Web. 13 Aug. 2018.