It’s back to school season, and for parents flooding the aisles of retail and discount outlets, mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are the furthest thing from their minds. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), at the same time that they’re looking for bargains, moms and dads need to be mindful of the brands that they’re choosing. That’s because the group has found asbestos and other dangerous chemicals in a wide range of products being sold for the 2018 school year.
The primary mesothelioma concern arises this year from Playskool-branded crayons being sold at Dollar Tree. Though no amount of asbestos is a good thing, PIRG’s toxics director Kara Cook-Schultz said there is good news coming out of this year’s testing, and that is a dramatic reduction in products testing positive for asbestos. “The good news is that when we were testing three years ago, all sorts of brands came back with asbestos,” she said. “Now it’s just this one.”
Asbestos is a mineral that was once found in a large percentage of consumer goods, but that practice stopped once it was discovered that it is a carcinogenic material that can cause malignant mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer. A few years ago there were multiple brands of crayons being sold on Amazon.com, in Dollar Tree stores and at other outlets, including Nickelodeon-branded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crayons and Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons. The reduction is a reflection of the work that is being done to stop toxic materials from being used in children’s products.
Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested. Though some argue that the asbestos found in crayon wax is unlikely to be inhaled, it can happen when children use sharpeners and dust is generated:additionally, children often eat crayons, raising concerns that asbestos could enter their intestinal tract. The asbestos was found in only the green Playskool crayons, and was identified specifically as tremolite asbestos, and a spokesperson for Hasbro, the company that owns Playskool, said that they would quickly investigate the problem.
The idea of children being exposed to asbestos is extremely frightening, especially to anybody whose life has been affected by malignant mesothelioma. If you are a victim of asbestos exposure and you need help, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.