Senate Dems press to ban talc from children's products

Senate Dems press to ban talc from children's products
© Getty Images

Senate Democrats are calling on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban talc from children’s products after tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund found fibers of asbestos in four brands of crayons and in two kinds of kiddie crime lab kits.

“Children’s playtime should be filled with fun, not asbestos,” Sens. Edward MarkeyEd MarkeySenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Pledged money not going to Indigenous causes Senate Democrats call on Biden to push for COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers at WTO MORE (D-Mass.) and Dick DurbinDick DurbinGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill Bipartisan senators press FBI, inspector general for changes following Nassar case MORE (D-Ill.) said in their letter to CPSC on Wednesday.


In its report earlier this week, the environmental advocacy group said the asbestos fibers found in the tested products most likely came from contaminated talc, which is used as a binding agent in crayons and in the powder used in crime scene fingerprint kits, because asbestos is often found in mines alongside talc deposits.

“This is at least the third time in the last 15 years that asbestos-contaminated talc was discovered in children’s products,” the senators’ letter said. “Parents should not have to play ‘toy box roulette,’ not knowing whether the products they buy for their children will seriously sicken or injure them.”

Durbin and Markey asked the CPSC to not only ban talc from children’s toys but also issue a rule on asbestos modeled on the existing rules for lead or phthalates in toys.

The four crayons that tested positive for asbestos — Amscan Crayons, Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crayons and Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce — were purchased between February and May at Party City and Dollar Tree and were all made in China.

The two crime lab kits — EduScience Deluxe Forensics Lab Kit with black fingerprint powder and Inside Intelligence Secret Spy kit with white fingerprint powder, also made in China — were purchased from Toys “R” Us and Buy-Rite. 

In separate letters to each retailer, Durbin and Markey urged the companies to voluntarily stop selling the contaminated products, remove any remaining stock from their store shelves and allow customers to return products that have been purchased.

“We believe that such a step would demonstrate your company’s commitment to the health and well-being of your customers,” their letter said.