A non-profit environmental group reported earlier this month that scientists have discovered the presence of asbestos in children’s toys manufactured in China and on the market in the United States. It was a report that alarmed many parents and one that has them searching through toy boxes and craft bins to avoid encounters with the toxic mineral.
According to the Environmental Working Group Action Fund (EWG), tests conducted by the Scientific Analytical Group of Greensboro, South Carolina found trace amounts of asbestos in children’s toys. Crayons and detective kits manufactured in China and sold under such names as Amscan Crayons, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Crayons, Nickelodeon Teenage and Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons, and Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce Crayons. Science Times
The analysis group also noted that “relatively high” amounts of asbestos were found in two kits that are popular with children who like to play at being detectives. These include the EduScience Deluxe Forensics Kit and the Inside Intelligence Secret Spy Kit.
“The lesson here is that parents can’t just read labels and choose safer products by looking at the labels themselves,” said Sonya Lunder, senior researcher for EWG. “This is exposure that can be avoided.”
This isn’t the first time such reports have been released, but previous reports were also associated with items manufactured in China. That’s because China is the world’s largest asbestos consumer, according to statistics released by the World Health Organization (WHO). The country used more than 500,000 metric tons of the toxic mineral in 2013, the last year for which statistics are available.
But just as in decades past in the United States, Chinese workers who toil in the white asbestos mines of the Sichuan Province don’t even know they’re being sickened by the dust that accumulates on their clothing and bodies each day as they work long, tedious hours excavating a material that is used not only in the manufacture of the aforementioned children’s toys but in countless other products as well. A report by a Chinese labor union noted that some 80 percent of workers were not fully aware of the dangers of their job. China Labor Bulletin
For some Americans who have already been sickened with asbestos-related diseases, this is all too familiar a scenario. From the early years of the 20th century until the late 1970s, countless workers in a variety of U.S. industries were never informed of the dangers of working with asbestos on a regular basis.
Those who were employed in shipyards, steel mills, textile plants, refineries, auto service stations, construction companies, and many other industries were often told that they had nothing to worry about when it came to that fine white dust they were no doubt inhaling each day. For many, however, it was a death sentence, just as it is for the miners in China and in other countries that still mine the mineral.
Over the years, much documentation has surfaced showing that owners and manufacturers of some of the top-selling asbestos products of the 20th century knew that the material was toxic but refused to share the information with employees. That documentation has helped many who’ve been sickened by the material to gain compensation for their suffering.
Whether found in crayons, detective kits, insulation, tiles, or any other item, asbestos can be deadly. If you’ve been exposed to toxic asbestos by no fault of your own, consult an attorney today to learn more about your legal rights.