Consumer Protection and WorkSafe have issued a warning after traces of asbestos were found in some imported crayons.
Testing carried out by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and WorkSafe Victoria found asbestos at trace levels in the following products:
- Dora the Explorer personalised 32 pack crayons
- Dora the Explorer jumbo crayons
- Arti Crafti 16 piece crayons
- Peppa Pig 8 wax crayons
- Disney “Frozen” jumbo crayons
- Disney “Mickey Mouse and Friends” crayons
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said, while the ACCC has advised that the crayons don’t pose a health risk during normal use, they do not pass the acceptable quality test under the Australian Consumer Law.
“We have been advised that the fibres of the asbestos are fully bound in the crayon wax so they would not be released during normal use. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) has advised us that the goods are considered to pose a low risk to humans,” Mr Newcombe said.
“However, we do not want to take any chances, so as a precaution we are urging consumers, especially parents and teachers, to check the brand of any crayons in their home or school and to dispose of crayons that appear on the alert list. Alternatively, consumers can return the crayons to the store where they were purchased and receive a refund or a replacement with an asbestos-free product.
“Asbestos is a highly regulated material in Australia and it is illegal for any product containing asbestos to be imported into this country. Importers are responsible for ensuring the goods they import do not contain asbestos prior to the goods arriving in Australia.
“Importers, suppliers and retailers are also asked to check their stocks and dispose of any products listed. Suppliers who have been identified have been ordered to cease supply.
”We are advised that suppliers are testing their current stock and Border Force is implementing a more stringent screening process for future imports of crayons.”
Regulations restrict asbestos products in the workplace and WorkSafe warns that these crayons should be removed from warehouses, shops and schools.
WorkSafe Executive Director Lex McCulloch said, while disposal of these products via standard garbage collection presents a negligible risk, the products need to be removed in accordance with the law.
“The health risk associated with the use, handling or disposal of the crayons is much lower than the risk associated with asbestos in building material, home renovations or industrial exposure to asbestos,” Mr McCulloch said.
“However, environmental protection laws in all states and territories prohibit the disposal of asbestos via standard garbage collection and, if not returned to your supplier, products should be taken to an asbestos disposal facility.
“Retailers should have a separate waste bag ready to accept returned crayons, however no personal protective equipment is required for handling the crayons.”
The nearest asbestos disposal facility can be located with the online tool on the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) website (https://asbestossafety.gov.au/search-disposal-facilities).
ASEA alert on this issue can be found here:
Enquiries can be made with Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or firstname.lastname@example.org or WorkSafe on 1300 307 877. General information on asbestos is available at:
Media contact (Consumer Protection or WorkSafe)