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Remove CSI Toy with Asbestos from Shelves

Remove CSI Toy with Asbestos from Shelves

Thursday, December 13, 2007


December 4, 2007

Tom DeLuca/Al Kaufman
Toys “R” Us, Inc. Headquarters
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, NJ 07480-2030

Attn Mr. DeLuca/Mr. Kaufman:

We are writing to ask that you immediately remove from sale all Planet Toys’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits due to recent test results finding dangerous levels of asbestos in powders contained in some sample kits. We fully recognize that retailers are not responsible for contamination in products like this. But at the same time, retailers are uniquely positioned to take quick, proactive steps to protect the public from hazardous consumer products. The CSI kits should be kept off the shelves until further tests of a representative sample of the product, using the most sensitive methods available, can validate the initial test results.

Tests for asbestos in the CSI kits were commissioned by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), and conducted between June and October of 2007 by certified labs using state of the art techniques. I have attached a copy of the report containing the test results for your review. Tremolite was found at percentages as high as 7.2 percent in 1 of the 5 powders contained in the kit, and in 6 out of 8 samples tested. The results were confirmed by blinded samples at separate labs.

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 the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits, has killed scores of people in Libby, many who never worked in the mine itself.

What is particularly troubling about this toy is that children are directed to blow the asbestos contaminated powder after dusting for fingerprints, which would make it much more likely that children playing with this toy would actually inhale potentially lethal asbestos fibers. Any amount of this fiber in a children’s toy, particularly in a powder that is certain 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.

While debate over exposures to some chemicals and toxics may still be ongoing, there is none when it comes to asbestos. There is a national epidemic of asbestos diseases that claims the lives of ten thousand Americans each year, many of whom were exposed early in life.

Please join us in working to educate the public on the dangers of asbestos exposure, by pulling this toy from your shelves as soon as possible.


Richard Wiles
Executive Director
Environmental Working Group

Enclosure: ADAO Asbestos Product Testing Materials

Liz Kalodner, Vice President, CBS Consumer Products
David Canner, CEO, Planet Products
Joan Lawrence, Vice President, Standards and Government Affairs/Toy Safety, Toy Industry Association

Key Issues: