Ripped From the Headlines

A project I worked on a few years back was the Mac port of a Director-based CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CD-ROM game. It was clean and safe. But via Rick Perlstein at the Campaign for America’s Future, another CSI product appears to be not so healthy (and no, it’s not the Kiddie Autopsy Kit):

December 4, 2007

Tom DeLuca/Al Kaufman

Toys “R” Us, Inc. Headquarters

One Geoffrey Way

Wayne, NJ 07480-2030

Attn Mr. DeLuca/Mr. Kaufman:

We are writing to ask that you immediately remove from sale all Planet Toys’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits due to recent test results finding dangerous levels of asbestos in powders contained in some sample kits.

The type of asbestos detected in these kits, tremolite, is one the most lethal forms of asbestos, and is the same deadly asbestos fiber contained in products made from ore mined at the notorious W.R. Grace mine in Libby, Montana. Tremolite asbestos, like that found in the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kits, has killed scores of people in Libby, many who never worked in the mine itself.

What is particularly troubling about this toy is that children are directed to blow the asbestos contaminated powder after dusting for fingerprints, which would make it much more likely that children playing with this toy would actually inhale potentially lethal asbestos fibers. Any amount of this fiber in a children’s toy, particularly in a powder that is certain to be inhaled, is completely unacceptable and unnecessary. A single exposure to tremolite is sufficient to cause fatal mesothelioma or lung cancer later in life.

CD-ROM CSI game? Non-lethal. Asbestos-laced fingerprint kit? Maybe not.

I see this as a great opportunity for CSI, quite frankly. Once the writers’ strike is over, the first show ought to be an investigation into the mysterious death of a child who received a home fingerprint kit for Christmas.