"It's disturbing" Research group finds toxic chemicals in a few school supplies sold online and in store

NOW: “It’s disturbing“ Research group finds toxic chemicals in a few school supplies sold online and in store

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The US Public Interest Research Group found lead, asbestos and other chemicals in common school supplies like crayons, binders and dry erase markers. 

The group purchased 27 items and sent them off to a lab to be tested. 

“It's disturbing to find things like lead and phthalates and asbestos even in some of our school supplies so we want to make sure parents know what to avoid," said Peter Skopec, Director of WISPIRG. 

These items can be found in Wisconsin stores and online. 

According to the report, these are the items that tested positive for toxic chemicals: 

1. Playskool Crayons purchased at the Dollar Tree tested positive for asbestos. 

2. The Board Dudes 6 Magnetic dry erase markers bought on Amazon tested positive for BTEX compounds.

3. Jot 1-inch 3-ring binder purchased at the Dollar Tree tested positive for phthalates.

“One of the things that I was shocked to learn is that a box of 36 crayons from playschool found at dollar tree contained trace amounts of asbestos. It’s a dangerous chemical that is linked to lung cancer mesothelioma," said Skopec. 

The US PIRG reached out to the makers and sellers of items urging for a recall. Playskool says it is doing an internal investigation but have not committed to a recall yet. 

CBS 58 is also reaching out to the companies involved. 

“We are pushing for stronger chemical safety protections because the bottom line is we shouldn’t have these types of chemicals in our kids school supplies," said Spokec. 

Click here to see full report. 

Hasbro, which is one of the companies named in the report by the U.S. PIRG, responded to CBS 58 with the following statement: 

"Product safety is a top priority at Hasbro, and our rigorous and stringent quality assurance and safety standards apply to all Hasbro products, including licensed products. We work closely with our licensees to ensure they understand and comply with Hasbro’s stringent product safety requirements.

This particular product was produced by Leap Year, a licensee, and sold at Dollar Tree. Both Leap Year and Dollar Tree tested these products and found no traces of asbestos.

Additionally, as soon as Hasbro learned of the allegations, Hasbro initiated its own independent investigation, including sending the crayons to an independent, third-party laboratory accredited by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, and these independent testing results confirmed there was no detectable asbestos in the product. Hasbro has concluded that the allegations are without merit."

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