A consumer advocacy group testing school supplies it bought at Dollar Tree for toxins says it discovered asbestos in Playskool crayons.
Julie Rideout — Getty Images
By Kevin Kelleher
Updated: August 8, 2018 4:35 PM ET

A consumer advocacy group testing back-to-school school supplies for toxins is asking for a crayon recall after it discovered asbestos in crayons made by Playskool.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund tested six brands of crayons it bought at Dollar Tree and discovered tremoline inside a green Playskool crayon. Tremoline is a type of asbestos, which can lead to serious health conditions such as lung cancer and mesothelioma if ingested or inhaled.

“We are conducting a thorough investigation into these claims, including working with Leap Year, the licensee of the product,” Katy Hendrickson Director, Hasbro’s director of global communications said in an email.

US PIRG called on retailers such as Dollar Tree, Amazon, and eBay to pull Playskool crayons from their items for sale. “We are aware of the report and have since re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing,” said Dollar Tree’s vice president of investor relations Randy Guiler.

That wasn’t all. US PIRG tested other supplies and found toxins such as lead and phthalates in them.

“Among the school supplies surveyed, we found Playskool crayons from Dollar Tree that contained asbestos, a 3-ring binder from Dollar Tree that contained high levels of phthalates, a dry-erase markers containing benzene, and we highlight two water bottles that have been recalled due to high levels of lead,” USPIRG said in a shopping guide it prepared for back to school supplies.

Despite the dangers those substances pose, most news stories focused on the asbestos found in crayons.

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a framework that will allow for the approval for “new uses” of asbestos. That proposal has drawn an increasing amount of criticism among groups concerned that such a move would lead to a resurgence of asbestos-related illnesses.

This story was updated to include responses from Hasbro and Dollar Tree.

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