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How Are Schools Reacting to the Crayon Scare?

Share Tests reveal the presence of asbestos in some brands of crayons, according to Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports this week. How should schools react to this news?

MAY 24, 2000 -- The news about asbestos in crayons caught most people by surprise -- including the people at the Consumer Safety Product Commission (CPSC). "At this point, the facts aren't in and we don't want to alarm people," Russ Rader, CPSC's director of public affairs, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, "but if a parent wants to be cautious, they may not want to let their young kids play with crayons until we have some more definitive answers to give."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is conducting its own tests on the crayons. Results will not be available for several days, the Post-Intelligencer reports.

Show and Tell

What Is Your School Doing?

The news that some brands of crayons may contain asbestos caught schools off guard. How should schools react? Share your thoughts on a special message board.
Tests conducted on eight brands of crayons revealed that three of those brands -- Crayola, Prang, and Rose Art -- contained asbestos. Of 40 crayons from the three brands, 80 percent were contaminated above a trace level, according to analyses by two government-certified laboratories. The asbestos is most likely a contaminant of the talc used as a strengthener for paraffin and coloring agents, laboratory officials said.

Child safety is of paramount concern to crayon manufacturers, the newspaper reported. To that end, the manufacturers agree to have their crayons tested by the Arts and Creative Materials Institute. Institute officials stand by their conclusions that no asbestos has been found in crayons they have tested and approved, including the three brands in question. According to the Post-Intelligencer, the institute's toxicologist said the laboratories must have misidentified the fibers they found.


How has your school reacted to the news? Share your reactions and your school's plan on today's message board.


For more information, see the reports of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the newspaper that broke this story Tuesday.

  • Major Brands of Kids' Crayons Contain Asbestos, Tests Show (5/23/2000)
  • Crayon Asbestos: Parents Cautioned (5/24/2000)

    Gary Hopkins
    Education World® Editor-in-Chief
    Copyright © 2000 Education World

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