Saturday, March 13, 2010
Crayola (Binney & Smith) claims proprietory and will not disclose ingredients in its crayons
Talc is sometimes contaminated with asbestos. In 2000, tests in a certified asbestos-testing laboratory found the tremolite form of amphibole asbestos in three out of eight major brands of children's crayons (oil pastels) that are made partly from talc — Crayola, Prang, and Rose Art. In Crayola crayons, the tests found asbestos levels from 0.05% in Carnation Pink to 2.86% in Orchid; in Prang crayons, the range was from 0.3% in Periwinkle to 0.54% in Yellow; in Rose Art crayons, it was from 0.03% in Brown to 1.20% in Orange. Overall, 32 different types of crayons from these brands contained more than trace amounts of asbestos, and eight others contained trace amounts. The Art and Creative Materials Institute, a trade association which tests the safety of crayons on behalf of the makers, initially insisted the test results must be incorrect, although they later said they do not test for asbestos. In May 2000, Crayola said tests by a materials analyst, Richard Lee, whose testimony has been accepted in lawsuits over 250 times on behalf of the asbestos industry, showed two of its crayons were negative for asbestos. In June 2000, Binney & Smith, the maker of Crayola, and the other makers agreed to stop using talc in their products, and changed their product formulations in the United States. The mining company, R T Vanderbilt Co of Gouverneur, New York, which supplied the talc to the crayon makers, insists there is no asbestos in its talc "to the best of our knowledge and belief", but a news article claimed that the United States Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) did find asbestos in four talc samples that it tested in 2000. At the time, however, the Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health informed the news reporter that his article was in error and that the reporter had misquoted him stating that “In fact, the abbreviation ND (non detect) in the laboratory report – indicates no asbestos fibers actually were found in the samples.” Further supporting the claim of Vanderbilt that asbestos is not found in this industrial grade talc (composed of a very complex mineral mixture) is a decades old record of analytical work that does not find asbestos in this talc by mineral scientists in academia, government and contract laboratories. 
Human, animal and cell health studies conducted on Vanderbilt’s controversial talc also lend no support for the presence of asbestos in this talc. Several non fully peer-reviewed health reports concerning Vanderbilt talc do exist and suggest a "same as" asbestos risk, some of which were referenced in the previously cited news articles.