April 14, 2008 - CSI Toy Kit Sparks Asbestos Lawsuit

A California asbestos victims advocacy group, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), filed a lawsuit Friday against CBS Corporation, a toy manufacturer, and multiple retailers over the sale of a toy inspired by the CBS crime drama “CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation.”  The contaminated product, the CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit, contained a powder used for fingerprint dusting which tested positive for the presence of asbestos.  Although the kits were pulled from the market late last year, the manufacturer, Planet Toys Inc., maintains that laboratory tests did not reveal the presence of asbestos in the kits.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims laboratory tests reveal that the fingerprint powder in the kits contained a substantial amount of tremolite asbestos—an extremely lethal form of asbestos. 

The ADAO conducted a study with three independent laboratories in early December that revealed the presence of asbestos in the kits. The kits were not pulled from shelves in Connecticut for weeks after the study, however, and continued to be sold in other locations, as well.  It wasn’t until late December that Planet Toys finally asked retailers to discontinue sale of its product.

According to a statement by the Consumer Protection Commissioner, “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.”

The Department of Health and Human Services has classified asbestos as a known human carcinogen, which increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer of the chest lining and abdominal cavity), and asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue).

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