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CSI Fingerprint Toy Pulled from Connecticut Stores Due to Asbestos Contamination

Dec 20, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP

Sales of the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit have been halted by the Department of Consumer Protection in Connecticut, which is alerting consumers to return the dangerous asbestos-laden toy to the original place of purchase.  “With the success of crime shows like CSI, it's no surprise that kids want to get in on the excitement by pretending to be crime scene investigators, but our own investigation of the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit identified a real-life culprit that must be promptly eliminated,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr.  “We are immediately embargoing and recalling this item in Connecticut.”  The Department purchased the dangerous toys and Farrell Jr. contacted the Department of Public Health to request testing after reading a report identifying asbestos in the kit.  Department inspectors are embargoing the product at all retailers statewide—including Sears, Toys ‘R Us, Kay-Bee Toys, Walgreen’s Wal-Mart, and Costco—and is sending relevant information to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which may issue a national recall.

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization conducted a study with three independent labs and revealed in very early December that this kit contained two types of asbestos; however, kits remained on the shelves for weeks in Connecticut and continue to be sold elsewhere.  According to the study, the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit was the product of greatest concern and contained high levels—five percent were found in the powder—of two asbestos types.

According to Farrell, “Lab results indicate that the composition and crystalline structure of the fibers is most consistent with tremolite, a form of asbestos and a toxic hazardous substance.  Given the potential health hazards associated with any asbestos contact, we are removing the item from sale immediately and are asking consumers to take swift measures to make sure their children aren’t exposed to the product. There is no ‘safe’ level of asbestos.”

Breathing high levels of asbestos fibers is linked to increased risks of lung cancer, mesothelioma—a cancer of the lining of the chest and abdominal cavity—and asbestosis—in which lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.  Many feel using asbestos-containing products may explain—in part—why some non-smokers and persons with no occupational exposures develop these diseases.

The Organization’s study also revealed asbestos in three varieties of Ja-Ru Toy Clay; Art Skills' Clay Bucket, where asbestos was found in six colors of clay; Scotch High Performance and All Weather Duct tapes; DAP Crack Shot Spackling Paste and 33 Window Glazing; Gardner Leak Stopper, with highest asbestos levels, at 30 percent; powdered cleansers; hair rollers; hot plates; and small.  Products were purchased from several national retail chains, including Wal-Mart, Costco, Toys "R" Us, Home Depot, Lowe's, Macy's, CVS, Bed Bath & Beyond, and others.  Some products contained less than one percent asbestos, which would not be prohibited under the Partial Asbestos Ban passed by the Senate.  Lobbyists succeeded in diluting the complete ban and the House will hold hearings on the legislation and is expected to attempt a complete prohibition of asbestos-containing products.  Experts feel any asbestos is hazardous and one-percent can represent millions of fibers.


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