Two of New Zealand’s biggest arts and craft retailers have pulled crayons containing asbestos from shelves. The clearout comes after Government testing identified asbestos in three of 21 randomly selected crayon products. However, authorities stress the risk to consumers is expected to be low.
The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery, owned by The Warehouse Group, removed the contaminated stock from all their stores over the weekend.
“We had a bit of a heads up,” spokeswoman Julia Morton said.
“We pulled it before the testing had been completed.”
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry for the Environment have been undertaking tests to determine the risks involved with asbestos in crayons, and if the issue was present in New Zealand.
The products confirmed to have asbestos are:
- Disney – Planes, Fire & Rescue – Double ended crayons
- Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
- Art Series – Jumbo Colours 12 Non-Toxic Bright Colours
“The risk assessment of asbestos in crayons as low is based on research undertaken by the United States Consumer Product Safety (CPSC) Commission, which included using simulation testing” a statement from the Ministry of Health said.
The research suggests the asbestos may be used as a binding agent in the crayons, like talc. Talc and asbestos are similar in composition and form in the same locations.
“This can lead to natural cross-contamination and this is believed to be the reason asbestos is being detected in some crayons,” the statement said.
Parents or caregivers with concerns about their crayons were recommended to check with the supplier.
“If you are still concerned we recommend that you stop using the crayons and dispose of them in your rubbish.
“Agencies are in agreement that, while it is currently legal for products to contain asbestos, it is not appropriate for children’s products, such as crayons, to contain asbestos.