Aug. 8 (UPI) -- A popular brand of children's crayons sold at stores and online contains toxic levels of asbestos, an advocacy research group said.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group said it tested 36-pack cartons of Playskool crayons and found trace amounts of asbestos, a toxin that can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
The crayons are available Dollar Tree stores, Amazon, eBay and DollarDays.com, PIRG said.
Testing also was done on markers, dry erase markers, glue, three-ring binders, spiral notebooks, lunchboxes and water bottles.
"We found several supplies containing asbestos, lead, benzene and other dangerous chemicals," the group said in a statement.
The group, which has created the "Safer School Supplies: Shopping Guide," said of the dozens of products tested, most did not contain toxic chemicals.
PIRG said other findings include lead in children's water bottles, which can cause severe developmental and behavioral problems; phthalates in Jot brand blue three-ring binders, which can lead to birth defects, hyperactivity, and reproductive problems; and benzene in Board Dudes brand markers, a known carcinogen linked to leukemia, disruptions in sexual reproduction and liver, kidney and immune system functions.
A spokeswoman for Playskool's parent company, Hasbro, told the Miami Herald it is conducting a "thorough investigation" into the report. The crayon manufacturer, Leap Year Publishing, said it's reviewing lab tests.
Dollar Tree executives said its company conducted independent tests and found no asbestos.
"The safety of our customers and associates is our top priority," Randy Guiler, vice president of Dollar Tree investor relations, said in a statement. "We are aware of the report and have since re-verified that each of the listed products successfully passed inspection and testing."
Amazon, DollarDays.com and eBay and did not immediately respond for comment.