Questions & Answers on
Crayola® Crayon Safety and CPSC Test Results
What were the Consumer Product Safety Commission's test results regarding Crayola crayons?
The CPSC's test results on crayons concluded there is no cause for concern. They affirmed that parents and teachers can continue to use the crayons they have and purchase crayons from store shelves and educational distributors. The CPSC tests, conducted by two laboratories, showed no scientific cause for concern when using crayons. Consumers who use Crayola crayons at home or at school, and customers who sell our products, should feel assured that Crayola crayons are safe for children to use and are non-toxic.
Did the CPSC find any asbestos at all?
In two of the Crayola crayons tested, a trace amount of asbestos so small it is scientifically insignificant, was found. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) do not consider materials that contain trace levels of asbestos fibers to be a safety concern. The trace amount that was identified -- 3/100ths of 1 percent -- is more than 30 times lower than the level that EPA has set to characterize something as an “asbestos-containing material,” and is far below the level of asbestos allowed in drinking water.
How many Crayola crayons were tested by the CPSC?
A government-certified laboratory, as well as a private laboratory contracted by the CPSC, tested five crayons each.
How could there be such a difference in testing results when it comes to determining if asbestos exists in Crayola crayons or not?
We believe earlier news test results erroneously reported that Crayola crayons contained asbestos because they misidentified transitional talc fibers and cleavage fragments as asbestos. Neither transitional talc fibers, nor cleavage fragments, pose any known health risks.
What about the transitional talc fibers that the CPSC said were found in Crayola crayons?
Transitional talc fibers are similar in appearance to asbestos and are often misidentified as asbestos. These fibers are not asbestos, and are not prohibited or regulated by any federal agency. These transitional fibers are naturally occurring in talc, which is used as a binding agent in our crayons to improve durability and strength.
Do transitional fibers pose a health risk?
The body of scientific knowledge on talc fibers, in which transitional fibers are included, does not show they pose any known health risk. Consistent with CPSC test results, we believe there is no risk to children from transitional talc fibers related to using crayons, through either inhalation or ingestion.
Although the CPSC and Binney & Smith say Crayola crayons are safe, will you do anything about talc in crayons?
News reports that talc used in crayons may contain transitional talc fibers and cleavage fragments that are frequently misidentified as asbestos has caused confusion. Because of that confusion, we are volunteering to reformulate our crayons to eliminate transitional talc fibers. We expect that we’ll be able to begin producing reformulated crayons that are equally safe, with the same quality, within a year.
How does Binney & Smith feel about CPSC findings?
We are pleased that CPSC test results reaffirm the safety of Crayola crayons. We continue to fully cooperate with the CPSC and have requested its test results. They have agreed to share them with us, so we can evaluate their findings.
What about your test results?
Test results of three independent labs (RJ Lee Group and those conducted by the Morning Call, a Tribune Company newspaper, and the Los Angeles Unified School District) showed that the Crayola crayons tested did not contain asbestos.
Can the trace elements of asbestos found in the two crayons be inhaled or ingested?
Consistent with the CPSC, Binney & Smith believes there is no risk to children from transitional talc fibers in crayons through either inhalation or ingestion. The CPSC test results indicate no airborne fibers were found after simulating a child vigorously coloring with a crayon for 30 minutes, and that any exposure by eating crayons is extremely low because the fibers are embedded in wax.