Asbestos has been found in three brands of crayons sold in New Zealand but retailers are being left to decide whether they’ll keep selling them.

The crayons we bought from Whitcoulls' website.
The crayons we bought from Whitcoulls' website.

The three products found to contain 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 Ministry of Health commissioned the testing of 21 products last month. We were able to order the Disney – Planes, Fire & Rescue crayons from Whitcoulls’ website. Whitcoulls has since removed the product.

The Ministry says the risk is considered low, based on research undertaken by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, it and other agencies agree it’s inappropriate for children’s products to contain asbestos.

The three products found to contain asbestos.
The three products found to contain asbestos.

The CPSC research put the presence of asbestos down to the use of talc as a binding agent in crayons. Talc and asbestos are similar in composition, are naturally occurring and form in similar locations. This can lead to natural cross-contamination. The MoH said retailers have been told of the issue but won’t be forced to withdraw the products. Australia has stopped importing crayons from China after asbestos was found in crayons there. Australia has a complete ban on asbestos. Back here, the Ministry for the Environment is consulting on a proposal that would ban asbestos.

The tested crayons were:

  • Disney – Planes Fire & Rescue – Double Ended Crayons
  • Avengers Age of Ultron – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Crayola Mini Twistables – 8 pieces
  • LEGO Brick – 8 Coloured Crayons
  • Marvel Ultimate Spider-man – 8 Chunky Crayons
  • Marvel Ultimate Spider-man – 10 Twistable Crayons
  • Disney Princes – Twistable Crayons 10 pack
  • Crayola Twistables Crayons – Mini pack 24
  • 12 piece Non-Toxic Jumbo Crayon
  • Doc McStuffins Double Ended Crayons
  • Disney Frozen Character Art Set
  • 24 Mini Twistables Crayons
  • Marvel Spider-Man Twistable Crayons
  • Melissa & Doug – Truck Crayon Set
  • Melissa & Doug – Princes Crayon Set
  • Melissa & Doug – 10 Jumbo Triangular Crayon Set
  • Melissa & Doug – 10 Jumbo Fluorescent Crayon Set
  • Melissa & Doug – 24 Triangular Crayon Set
  • Art Series- Jumbo Colors 12 Non – Toxic Bright Colours
  • Smiggle Twist Up Crayons
  • u.do art & craft 12 Jumbo Crayons.