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Help Desk Archive


asbestos
Question submitted on 10/10/07

Is there a list of art supplies that contained asbestos?

Answer:

I have been unable to find such a list. According to "Are Art Supplies Toxic?" (http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/realmoney/articles/toxicart.cfm):

"In 2000, ACMI's [Art and Creative Materials Institute] safety protocols came under fire when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/cray23.shtml] broke the news that carcinogenic asbestos had been found in Crayola, Prang, and Rose Art crayons, all of which bear the nontoxic AP label. While asbestos was not an actual ingredient in any of the three brands, it is a common contaminant of talc, which had long been used as a strengthener in crayons. (Later that year, all three manufacturers agreed to stop using talc in crayons.)

Fanning says ACMI responded immediately, conducting its own testing, and the CPSC tested the three brands as well. None found asbestos.

"What we and the CPSC did find were talc fibers and cleavage fragments, which are too short to be asbestos but are often misinterpreted by some labs as asbestos," says Fanning. "Had we found asbestiform contaminants at a hazardous level, we would have taken our AP labels off immediately, and the manufacturers would have had to take their crayons off the market until they complied with our standards again."

For further information, see:

Guidelines for the Safe Use of Art and Craft Materials (updated May 2007)
http://www.oehha.ca.gov/education/art/artguide.html

Better Art Supplies for Budding Artists
http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/116/artsupplies

Guide to Using Art and Craft Materials Safely
http://www.thegreenguide.org/article/arts/supplies

Whats on the Label: Art and Hobby Supplies
http://www.checnet.org/healthehouse/education/articles-detail.asp?Main_ID=622

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GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).

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