A team of researchers from the Environmental Working Group Action Fund discovered that some of these apparently innocent tools contain asbestos, which is known to be a dangerous, carcinogenic substance.
According to the researchers, there are four brands of crayons and two types of crime scene fingerprints kits that have asbestos among their components.
According to health experts, asbestos is an extremely dangerous substance that can cause very serious and even fatal illnesses when inhaled. Among the most severe diseases associated with it, lung cancer, asbestosis (a sort of pneumooconiosis) and mesothelioma are the most worth mentioning.
After concerns were raised at the beginning of the 20th century, its use was banned or heavily restricted in many countries. However, asbestos can have negative effects a long time after the person has been exposed.
Given the harmful effects, the experts have concluded that there is no safe amount to which a person can be exposed.
This makes this piece of news even more worrying, especially because the main users of crayons containing asbestos are most likely young children.
According to the U.K. Committee on Carcinogenicity, children who are exposed to this substance are reported to face 3.5 times higher chances of developing asbestos-related lung disease (mesothelioma). This is mainly due to the long time it takes to diagnose it after the person has been exposed.
“Asbestos in toys poses an unacceptable risk to children, today as it did in 2000 and 2007, the last time tests found the deadly substance in these children’s products,” said Dr. Philip Landrigan, who is a professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine and works at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Asbestos can easily inhaled by the children who use crayons containing it. Once they get in, asbestos fibers can lead to lung inflammation and scarring, which might cause various diseases many years later.
Even if U.S. manufacturers have eliminated talc, which contains asbestos, from crayons, some still think talc is inexpensive and easy to deal with, this is why there are still some brands where traces of the dangerous chemical can still be found.
Asbestos is said to kill about 15,000 Americans who have been exposed to it every year.
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