The Environmental Working Group Action Fund (EWG) says they found asbestos in crayons and other toys which are being sold in the United States.
"We were surprised,” report co-author Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based group, told CBS News. The group's report on the asbestos was released on Wednesday.
"Crayons and crime-scene toys were found to have asbestos in years gone by, and the manufacturers of both had already promised to deal with the problem," she said.
Lunder added that all of the products were manufactured in China.
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"This makes it harder to follow the supply chain and enact and enforce pledges to have asbestos-free products,” she said.
EWG said they purchased the crayons between February and May at Party City and Dollar Tree near San Francisco, California. The group also bought the crime-scene toys through Amazon.com and the Toys”R"Us website. The toys were tested by an independent company, Scientific Analytical Institute from Greensboro, North Carolina, and the results were verified by a second lab.
Although not all of the toys that were tested contained asbestos, the crayons that were contaminated were labeled with popular characters such as Disney’s Mickey Mouse and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The two kids' crime-scene toys that tested positive for asbestos, EduScience's Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit, and Inside Intelligence's Secret Spy Kit, had higher levels of the carcinogen.
According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos fibers, which were found in the toys, can easily be inhaled and cause cancer.
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“Even though some say it may be a low risk, it’s not necessarily the same risk in children as it is in adults because they are a lot more susceptible to environmental toxins,” said Dr. Richard Lemen, former assistant U.S. surgeon general who was not affiliated with the study. “These are diseases that take years to develop.”