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Back-to-school shopping with a side of asbestos exposure?

Back-to-school time is an exciting period for parents and children alike. South Carolina families are usually focused on clothes shopping and buying new supplies in the weeks leading up to the start of the new term. Few, however, have asbestos exposure on the mind.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund -- a consumer advocacy group -- tests school supplies, looking for possible toxins or carcinogens that could be dangerous to children. This year, it found asbestos in one brand of crayons. Playskool crayons are sold at a variety of retailers and are a popular choice for parents who are shopping for supplies.

The group singled out the green crayons manufactured by Playskool, which is the only color found to contain tremoline. Tremoline is a form of asbestos which poses serious health concerns if it is inhaled or ingested. Small children ingesting crayons is not out of the ordinary, and the group has strongly urged retailers -- including the Dollar Tree, where the crayons were purchased -- to take the products off their shelves. However, the Dollar Tree's vice president insisted that the Playskool crayons were safe and said that the company has no intentions of removing them from its stores.

The Dollar Tree seems to be particularly dangerous when it comes to school supplies. The group also found significant lead levels in two different water bottles sold at the chain retailer. Other supplies showed worrying levels of benzene phthalates, both of which are dangerous.

South Carolina parents should not have face constant worry over their children's school supplies. Unfortunately, many companies prioritize their own bottom lines over consumer safety. When asbestos exposure from dangerous products leads to serious medical conditions like mesothelioma or lung cancer, victims can seek financial compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering and more. However, keeping detailed documentation of known exposures is essential since the side effects can take years to develop.

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