Crayola Seems Concerned about Safety
“ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling.”
Citizen Voiced Concerns Over a Year Ago
Image from a Crayola Lesson Plan for Teachers
However over a year ago, former Springfield (MO) Councilman (and coal tar gadfly) Dan Chiles wrote the following letter. He was concerned that the extensive safety precautions failed to mention the risks to children using sidewalk chalk on toxic coal tar sealed surfaces.
Kids just don’t use the playground or driveway surface like a canvas, but they get a whole lot of skin contact and at a level where off-gassing of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from coal tar sealers can be quite potent and trigger asthma attacks.
Just look at the collage assembled above from social media accounts of parents gleefully and obliviously photographing their children for a contest run by Crayola using the hashtag: #SidewalkSelfieSweeps!
As a result this product has been banned in a few states and several cities.
What was Crayola thinking?
Likely an oversight by someone who put it in the “tin hat” bin for crazy consumers. Or maybe it was lost in the mail. What other explanation is there?
Don’t you think Crayola could use their reach and influence to help educate teachers and parents to this danger? I hope so. Maybe they could use this hashtag:
April 27, 2016
I picked up my nephew’s box of Crayola Washable Sidewalk Chalk and noted on the back that the product “is designed for use on concrete or asphalt sidewalks and driveways”. On your website you say “Crayola considers the safety of children our top priority.”
Are you aware that children are using your product to draw on top of toxic waste known as coal tar sealant? There are a growing number of authoritative, peer reviewed scientific studies showing clearly the grave danger to anyone who comes in contact with PAH-laden coal tar sealants.
I have enclosed several compilations of critical studies for your review. This includes a very recent study from Oregon State showing that the problem is worse than previously thought.
In a few minutes, you will see what some of us have noted for years: Toxic coal tar sealants are a terrible and growing threat to persons who are exposed to it and the problem is much worse for children who, as we know, come in intimate contact with this known poison while drawing pictures on top it.
I look forward to hearing from you with your questions and comments.
United States Geological Survey
Coal Tar Free America Blog
City of Springfield Coal Tar Compilation