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CPSC Releases Test Results on Crayons

June 13, 2000


U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public AffairsWashington, DC 20207


June 13, 2000CPSC Contact: Russ Rader

Release # 00-123(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1166(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1166

Industry to Reformulate

Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today released the results of tests on crayons after concerns were raised about asbestos in some popular brands.

CPSC found a trace amount of asbestos in two Crayola crayons made by Binney and Smith and one Prang crayon made by Dixon Ticonderoga. However, the amount of asbestos is so small it is scientifically insignificant.

In Crayola crayons and Prang crayons, CPSC also found larger amounts of another fiber, called "transitional" fiber, which is similar in appearance to asbestos fiber. While there are potential concerns about these fibers if children are exposed to them, CPSC tests concluded that the risk a child would be exposed to the fibers either through inhalation or ingestion is extremely low and there is no scientific basis for a recall.

The risk of exposure to the fibers from using crayons is low. In a simulation of a child vigorously coloring with a crayon for half an hour, no fibers were found in the air. The risk of exposure by eating crayons is also low because the fibers are embedded in wax and pass through a child's body. However, CPSC concluded that these fibers should not be in children's crayons in the long term.

As a precaution, because crayons are intended for use by children, CPSC asked the industry to reformulate crayons using substitute ingredients. Binney Smith and Dixon Ticonderoga quickly volunteered to reformulate within a year to eliminate the fibers. Rose Art, which has only a small percentage of crayons made with talc, also agreed to reformulate.

"Where children are concerned, you have to be extra cautious, "said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "The risk is low but the concerns with these fibers should not be ignored. I'm pleased that all the major manufacturers, including Crayola, Prang, and Rose Art went the extra mile to allay concerns about these fibers."

CPSC tests concluded that there is no cause for concern. Parents and teachers can continue to use the crayons they have and purchase crayons from store shelves.

Transitional fibers can be found in talc, which is used as a binding agent in some crayons. Talc is a mineral that can be found with many other types of minerals in some rock formations.

The CPSC tests were conducted by a government lab and a private lab to see whether consistent results would be obtained. Both labs had similar results. The sophisticated testing included analysis of the fibers through light refraction and visual examination through an electron microscope.

CPSC will continue to monitor children's crayons to make sure they are safe.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, you can go to CPSC's forms page and use the first online form on that page. Or, you can call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or send the information to To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information from CPSC's website or by calling the hotline or sending your request to You can also subscribe to CPSC's email subscription list which normally sends all press releases the day they are issued.