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Latest Dangerous Toy From China

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

EWG Calls on Stores to take CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits off the Shelves Immediately

WASHINGTON – Last week, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) announced the results of an exhaustive 18-month scientific study testing hundreds of consumer products for the deadly cancer-causing chemical asbestos. The findings were extremely troubling. One product, the popular children’s toy – Planet Toys CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits – had high levels of asbestos in some samples of the fingerprint dust children put directly on their fingers and likely breathe into their lungs when the dust goes airborne. Children are directed to blow the asbestos contaminated dust to reveal the fingerprints.

To view ADAO research, please refer to the ADAO Press release, or download the PDF of their study here.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) today called on major retailers in the U.S. that carry this toy to pull it from their shelves immediately and to conduct state-of-the-art tests on a larger sample of the product to confirm the extent of the problem.

The type of asbestos detected in these kits, tremolite, is one the most lethal forms of asbestos and is the same deadly asbestos fiber contained in products made from ore mined at the notorious W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana. Tremolite asbestos, like that found in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits, has killed scores of people in Libby, many who never worked in the mine itself.

Any amount of this fiber in a children’s toy, particularly in a powder that is highly likely to be inhaled, is completely unacceptable and unnecessary. A single exposure to tremolite is sufficient to cause fatal mesothelioma or lung cancer later in life.

“Exposing a young child to even a small amount of asbestos could have deadly results later on in life,” said EWG Executive Director Richard Wiles. “We hope all retailers take asbestos exposure seriously before letting one more of these toy fingerprint sets go out the door and home with a child.”

The scientific study, which cost over $165,000, revealed dangerous levels of 2 different kinds of asbestos in the white and glow-in-the-dark finger powder included in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kit children use when playing with the toy set. The danger of exposure to asbestos increases dramatically if the substance containing the deadly cancer-causing chemical can easily be breathed into the lungs.

“More than 100 years after asbestos exposure was first linked to disease in the modern world, asbestos continues to be the source of one of the largest manmade public health crises in history,” stated Linda Reinstein, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “But exposure continues. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Health Organization and the International Labor Organization all agree: ‘There is no safe level of asbestos exposure.’”

A copy of the letter sent to officials at Toys “R” Us, Costco, KB Toys and Walgreens can be found here, along with the scientific study released last week by ADAO.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

ADAO was founded in 2004 by asbestos victims and their families. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to help ensure their rights are fairly represented and protected, while raising public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure and often deadly asbestos related diseases. ADAO is an independent organization funded through voluntary contributions and staffed by volunteers.

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