Are my children’s crayons TOXIC?


Have you ever wondered what your children’s crayons are really made of and whether they are in fact safe for your child to chew on?

Toxic crayons3I’ve had the same questions and concerns myself because as a mother I know how much my toddler loves putting things in her mouth! So I believe as parents, it’s our responsibility to make informed decisions about what we could potentially be exposing our children to.

Most commercial crayons are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum based wax that is not easily biodegradable and mixed with various chemical pigments.

Over the last 10 years, things such as glitter (plastic particles) and perfumes have also been added to crayons to scent them. Perfumes or fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to all sorts of health concerns and are a known human carcinogen.

Recently there have been crayon recalls and warnings for lead, asbestos, and most recently, mercury in crayons.


Last September 2015, parents were shocked when tests commissioned by EWG (Environmental Working Group) found deadly asbestos fibers in four major brands of children’s crayons and two kids’ crime scene fingerprint kits. You can read the statement here.

There is no safe amount of asbestos. It is a known carcinogen that kills up to 15,000 Americans a year. (Soure ASBESTOS NATION)

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This is an extreme concern for our young children, who put everything in their mouths.


Asbestos – Is a cariogenic and highly toxic. Can cause death.
According to the U.K. Committee on Carcinogenicity, a child exposed to asbestos is 3.5 more likely than a 25-year-old to develop mesothelioma, a lung disease that is only caused by asbestos, because of the long lag time between exposure and diagnosis.

Lead – There is no safe amount of lead. Anything that children chew on or swallow that contains lead may cause high lead levels in their blood.
Lead poisoning in children, even in small amounts, can permanently damage the child’s nervous system. This can cause reduced IQ, learning problems, slowed growth, hyperactivity and irritability. Higher levels of lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
In a 2015 test of crayons, lead was found in both Princess Lillifee (8 Crayon pack) and Herlitz Pretty Pets (8 crayon pack).
In April, 1994, 11 brands of crayons were recalled by CPSC (The Consumer Product Safety Commission) because of high levels of lead. The list contained enough lead to poison a child just from chewing them without being exposed to any other lead source.

Paraffins – Paraffin is a solid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum. If a child accidentally eats a large amount of crayon, the paraffin can lead to intestinal obstruction. Paraffin can also accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes.


I really do believe that only 100% natural and sustainably sourced crayons are the only safe option when it comes to your children. Quite simply, if you don’t know what it is made from or where it comes from then don’t buy it! It’s not worth the risk to your child’s health and thankfully there are more and more safer options available.

Here at Eco Toys, we have put a lot of research into our toys and the materials and ingredients they are made from, as we feel it’s important for parents to have other options that just grabbing a cheap pack of toxic crayons from a supermarket shelf.


Here’s our top picks for non-toxic kids crayons that can all be found on our store. 
1. Honeystick beeswax crayons – Made in NZ from natural and non-toxic beeswax. The sustainable process causes minimal impact on the environment and gives the crayons a wonderful natural scent of honey. Suitable as a first crayon for baby and toddlers as they are chunky and easy to hold.


2. Tinta Crayons – Made in Australia from organic Australian beeswax and two organic plant waxes that are sourced from Brazil and Mexico where they grow and are farmed sustainably. New styles coming soon.

Tinta handmade crayons


3. Rock Crayons – Made in the US with all natural soy wax (sourced locally) and coloured with mineral pigments. For children aged 3+ these crayons have been designed to teach children proper pencil grip.

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Many parents (including myself) have bought and used Stockmar crayons because of recommendations that they are natural and made from beeswax. However after contacting the company, Stockmar confirmed that their crayons contain only 9 to 10% beeswax and 52% paraffin wax.

There are also other crayon brands that are not so readily available in Australia but these are our top Australian picks.

For all your natural, eco friendly and non-toxic children’s art and craft supplies visit our online store Eco Toys.

Natural paints

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2 Responses to “Are my children’s crayons TOXIC?”

  1. Kate says:

    Asbestos not only causes mesothelioma of the lungs. My father died last year from mesotgelioma of the abdominal cavity lining. Many people don’t realise mesothelioma can also be caused just by ingesting asbestos, it doesnt have to be inhaled into the lungs.

    • Melinda says:

      Thanks Kate for clarifying. So sorry to hear that your dad passed away from mesothelioma. It makes it even more of a concern when children are chewing on crayons and exposing themselves to potentially deadly substances. So scary and unnecessary. There needs to be more testing and tighter restrictions on toy / crayon safety and manufacturing.

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