CPSC Announces Recalls Of Imported Crayons Because Of Lead Poisoning Hazard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: KEN GILES

April 5, 1994

(301) 504-7052

Release # 94-055

 

CPSC Announces Recalls Of Imported Crayons Because Of Lead Poisoning Hazard

PRODUCT: Crayons imported from China by the following companies:

- "12 Jumbo Crayons," Concord Enterprises, Los Angeles, CA.

- "Safe 48 Non-Toxic I'm a Toys "R" Us Kid! Crayons," Toys "R" Us, Paramus, NJ.

- "12 Crayons, Glory" and "18 Crayons That Paint, Conforms ASTM D-4236," Glory Stationery Manufacturing Company Limited, Los Angeles, CA.

- "64 Crayons, School Quality, No. 8064," A.J. Cohen Distributors, Hauppauge, NY.

- "64 Crayons, #CR 64-64 CT," Baum Imports, New York, NY.

- "12 Super Jumbo Crayons," Dynamic Division of Agora International, St. Albans, NY.

- "8 Crayons, No 5 CL 850," Dynamic Division of Agora International, St. Albans, NY.

- "Fun Time 72 Crayons, No. B541," Overseas United, New York, NY.

- "64 Crayons, Kidz Biz," Bargin Wholesale, Los Angeles, CA.

- "64 Crayons, SKU#51-02600," Universal International, Minneapolis, MN.

- "Feido, 12 Crayons, No. CC8812," Kipp Brothers Inc., Indianapolis, IN.

PROBLEM: All of these crayons contain lead. The first three (Concord, Toys "R" Us, and Glory) contain enough lead to present a lead poisoning hazard to young children who might eat or chew on the crayons. While sources such as lead paint are major causes of lead poisoning, it is important to eliminate other contributors to lead poisoning, such as these crayons. The other eight brands do not contain enough lead to increase the blood lead level above the threshold level for lead poisoning, assuming a typical scenario of a child chewing on small pieces of lead- containing crayons over a span of time. However, CPSC is very concerned about these crayons because they add to the overall "lead load" to children who may eat them. If a child ate an entire lead-containing crayon over the same span of time, the lead poisoning threshold for these crayons would be exceeded.

WHAT TO DO: Take the crayons away from children and discard them or, for most of the brands, take them back to the store for a refund. The crayons sold by Bargin Wholesale and by Universal International are being recalled from the importers' retail chains. Buy only crayons and other children's art materials that have this label: "Conforms to ASTM D-4236" (or similar words) which means that a toxicologist has reviewed the formula of the art material for chronic hazards.

WASHINGTON, DC -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announces recalls of several imported crayons because of a lead poisoning hazard.

Importers of the following Chinese crayons are taking these corrective actions:

- "12 Jumbo Crayons," Concord Enterprises, Los Angeles, CA. Sold approximately 430 cases in 18 States. Return to store for refund.

- "Safe 48 Non-Toxic I'm a Toys "R" Us Kid! Crayons," Toys "R" Us, Paramus, NJ. Sold 100,000 packages in 1990-91 and 2,000 packages in last year. The crayons were packaged in plastic cylindrical containers with a crayon sharpener in the lid and a paper label featuring Geoffrey the Giraffe and reading in part: "SAFE 48 NON- TOXIC I"M A TOYS "R" US KID! CRAYONS *** manufactured by BSA Assoc., N.Y., N.Y. 10010 for Geoffrey Inc. *** Made in China." Individual crayons bear a paper label reading in part "RAINBOW CRAYONS *** BSA *** Made in China." Return to store for refund.

- "12 Crayons, Glory" and "18 Crayons That Paint, Conforms ASTM D- 4236," Glory Stationery Manufacturing Company Limited, Los Angeles, CA. According to the importer, none of the crayons was sold at retail level. Those crayons shipped to distributors have been recalled, and all crayons at the importer's warehouse will be destroyed.

- "64 Crayons, School Quality, No. 8064," A.J. Cohen Distributors, Hauppauge, NY. Sold 226,008 units in Eastern United States. Return to store for refund.

- "64 Crayons, #CR 64-64 CT," Baum Imports, New York, NY. Sold 80,400 boxes in metropolitan New York City area. Return to store for refund.

- "12 Super Jumbo Crayons," Dynamic Division of Agora International, St. Albans, NY. Sold 36,000 boxes nationwide. Return to store for refund.

- "8 Crayons, No 5 CL 850," Dynamic Division of Agora International, St. Albans, NY. Sold 120,000 boxes nationwide. Return to store for refund.

- "Fun Time 72 Crayons, No. B541," Overseas United, New York, NY. Sold 16,949 boxes in metropolitan New York City area. Return to store for refund.

- "64 Crayons, Kidz Biz," Bargin Wholesale, Los Angeles, CA. Sold 101,184 boxes nationwide. Firm will recall from "The $.99 Store" chain.

- "64 Crayons, SKU#51-02600," Universal International, Minneapolis, MN. Firm imported 295,000 boxes. Firm will recall from the "Only Deals" chain.

- "Feido, 12 Crayons, No. CC8812," Kipp Brothers Inc., Indianapolis, IN. Sold 19,006 nationwide. Firm will destroy 3,438 boxes of crayons left in inventory.

All of these crayons contain lead. The first three (Concord, Toys "R" Us, and Glory) contain enough lead to present a lead poisoning hazard to young children who might eat or chew on the crayons. The other eight brands do not contain enough lead to increase the blood lead level above the threshold level for lead poisoning (10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and supported by other Federal agencies). This assumes a typical scenario of a child chewing on small pieces of lead-containing crayons over a span of time. However, CPSC is very concerned about these crayons because they add to the overall "lead load" to children who eat them. If a child ate an entire lead- containing crayon over the same span of time, the lead poisoning threshold for these crayons would be exceeded.

The CPSC staff found the lead-containing crayons during a nationwide survey of crayons imported from China. In a separate action, the Arizona Department of Health Services had previously found some crayons imported from China to be a source of high blood lead levels in a Phoenix infant. The Los Angeles-based importer of those crayons, Concord Enterprises, recalled those crayons in cooperation with CPSC on March 22, 1994.

Toys "R" Us conducted tests at an independent lab and did not find hazardous amounts of lead in the crayons they tested. Nevertheless, Toys "R" Us and CPSC urge consumers to take the Toys "R" Us crayons away from children and discard them or return them to a Toys "R" Us store for a refund.

Parents should buy only crayons and other children's art materials that have this label: "Conforms to ASTM D-4236," or similar words. This label means that the formulas of the crayons and other art materials have been reviewed by a toxicologist for chronic hazards and are labeled appropriately. In the case of the crayons imported by Glory Stationery Manufacturing Company Limited, it was inappropriate for the crayons to be labeled "Conforms to ASTM D-4236" because the crayons contained hazardous levels of lead. CPSC will continue to test art materials to assure that the ASTM label is being properly used. CPSC also will continue to work with the U.S. Customs Service to seize non- ASTM-labeled crayons at ports of entry. Parents should not buy old non-ASTM-labeled art materials still on store shelves. CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "While there are other causes of lead poisoning, such as lead paint, no children's product, especially crayons, should contain lead. Throw these crayons in the trash or take them back to the store for a refund." Lead has long been recognized as a hazardous substance, especially to young children, infants, and fetuses. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage and can impair mental functioning. It can retard mental and physical development and reduce attention span.

The Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) bans children's products containing hazardous amounts of lead. In addition, the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA) amendments to the FHSA require that all art materials be reviewed by a toxicologist for chronic hazards and be labeled appropriately. Crayons that contain hazardous lead levels are banned hazardous substances and crayons without the conformance label are misbranded art materials under the law.

CPSC's mission is to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.6 million injuries and 21,700 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.