The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities Imported Materials with Asbestos Working Group including the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency have today issued a consumer alert following trace amounts of asbestos being detected in some crayon products imported into Australia.
While the risk to exposure is low a precautionary and coordinated approach is being taken by all Australian governments and agencies.
The traces of asbestos that have been detected in the crayons are fully bound in the crayon wax. Studies have shown that as a result, asbestos fibres would not be released during normal use or as a result of ingestion. This is because the melting point of crayon wax is well above body temperature. Accordingly, these goods are considered to pose a very low risk to humans.
“I encourage anyone with any concerns to read the Consumer and Retailer Alert issued this afternoon which contains more information including the specific products that have been identified,” Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz said today.
“If anyone is concerned they have purchased the affected crayons, they can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund or replacement.”
“In line with good practice procedures in handling asbestos containing materials, it is recommended that the crayons be placed in a plastic bag, such as a zip lock bag or in the original packaging if possible, for return. Personal Protective Equipment is not required to be worn.”
“The Australian Border Force has made a recent decision to detain imports of crayons from China that may contain asbestos fibres, until adequate assurance is provided that the products are free from asbestos. The ABF will also continue to target high risk entities, including particular manufacturers and certain import and distribution companies, both overseas and in Australia.”
“The Government is pleased that the rapid response protocols established by the working group have identified and responded to this situation quickly,” Senator Abetz concluded.
Consumers who experience any difficulties in obtaining a refund or replacement of goods that contain asbestos can make an online complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission via: http://www.productsafety.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/ReportAnUnsafeProduct
Further information about what the Australian Government is doing to stop asbestos entering Australia is available on the ASEA website: https://asbestossafety.gov.au/managing-importation-asbestos-australia