Asbestos is a prohibited import in Australia and any trace elements found in crayons would mean the product is not of acceptable quality.
Crayons are sticks of coloured wax used for writing and drawing. They are widely used by children.
In 2015, the ACCC tested children’s crayons and found that four of the 12 imported brands of crayons contained traces of asbestos.
Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and inhalation of fibres can lead to serious pulmonary diseases, including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. However, asbestos fibres in crayons are bound within the crayon wax. They present no safety risk as they cannot be inhaled.
Children eating crayons are not at risk as the melting point of the crayon wax is above body temperature, so asbestos fibres would not be released.
- Any crayons containing asbestos must be withdrawn from sale.
- Crayons should be placed in a plastic bag (ziplock or sealed with a knot) or in their original packaging and taken to an authorised asbestos disposal facility.
- It is the law that any materials containing asbestos must be disposed of at licensed facilities.