Public Justice has filed state and federal lawsuits to force CBS Broadcasting, Inc. and Planet Toys, Inc. to protect children and their families from further exposure to asbestos contained in toy science kits made by Planet Toys and licensed by CBS. The toy kits are based on the popular “CSI” television drama series, and tests of the kits’ fingerprinting powder found tremolite, one of the most deadly forms of asbestos.
Public Justice’s federal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that CBS and Planet Toys were negligent in their quality control measures and that they made consumers believe the toys were appropriate playthings for children when, in fact, the toys contained a hazardous and potentially lethal carcinogen. Because the toys were sold nationwide, the lawsuit is brought on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers who purchased or acquired the toys.
Among other things, the class action asks that the defendants provide refunds to consumers, pay for asbestos testing of toys that have been opened, and pay for appropriate medical treatment for consumers who have been exposed to asbestos. A second suit was filed in California state court, citing violations of a state law known as “Proposition 65,” which requires businesses to give a “clear and reasonable warning” to California consumers if a product contains a chemical known to cause cancer or birth defects, such as asbestos.
The Proposition 65 complaint was filed, in part, on behalf of the California-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), which first publicly reported the presence of asbestos in the CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationTM Fingerprint Examination Kit last November. The discovery was the result of independent laboratory tests on an array of consumer goods and toys, including the popular fingerprinting kit. Further investigation found that the fingerprinting powder containing asbestos was also in other “CSI” toy kits – the CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationTM Field Kit and the CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationTM Forensic Lab Kit. Both lawsuits name CBS, Planet Toys, and major retailers of the toy, some of whom continue to sell the kits. The Proposition 65 lawsuit seeks civil penalties for violations of the law, in addition to injunctive relief.
The dangers of asbestos exposure have been well documented by scientists, doctors, and environmentalists since the 1970s. There is no known safe level of exposure. If inhaled, microscopic asbestos particles can penetrate lung tissue and stay there permanently, causing serious, even deadly, respiratory illnesses or cancer that might not manifest until decades after initial exposure. Even small quantities of asbestos are hazardous when inhaled. Since the kits contain powder, it makes the presence of asbestos more hazardous.
Source: Public Citizen
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