Tainted Toys


Children's toys are some of the lesser known products that can have adverse effects on children's health in the long run. They can contain harmful plastics and even asbestos. Although there was an attempted ban on Asbestos over 20 years ago, they are still found in many products, including crayons.

So what exactly are asbestos? Asbestos is a classification for six unique types of strong insoluble silica fibers. Even other fibers such as Talc Fibers can act similarly to asbestos and all of these can have damaging health effects. This is because the small fibers can enter our bodies and harm our lungs and organ linings.

There is no safe level of asbestos exposure even though they can be found in many products. In fact, asbestos can lead to cancer in the lining of organs, lung cancer, and lung problems as a result of breathing in the fibers. It is even considered to be more deadly than skin cancer. Even talc, which is formed from similar parent rocks, can cause ovarian and lung cancer. However, although more than 50 countries have banned asbestos, the US still allows them. You can be exposed to them through the products you buy and even possibly the insulation in attics.

Some of the toys that were found to contain asbestos by EWG are certain crayons brands and kids crime scene fingerprint kits. These products are marketed specifically towards kids with characters from favorite TV shows even though children are more susceptible to the damaging chemicals and fibers. They are more susceptible because their bodies are still developing and they often stick crayons in their mouths and eat them. Although the dangers are known, there has been no attempt to ban them. 

Currently it is difficult to know which of your children's toys contain asbestos or talc. Luckily, there is a bill underway in Congress known as the READ Act. This bill would allow parents to ensure that the toys their children are playing with would not contain harmful chemicals because currently Connecticut is the only state that bans it. You can also see what crayon brands contain asbestos by viewing EWG’s website.

By Sara Frawley


melanie gabrell