As I mentioned in my post about non-toxic paint for kids, my children (especially my oldest) are very artistic. Crayons are a staple in our house, and we go through them quickly. They’re given as birthday and Christmas presents, and we always carry them with us in the car and out to restaurants.
When I found out that there could be toxic substances in crayons though (even the ones marked “non-toxic”), I started looking for truly non-toxic crayons that I could trust, and I wanted to share my findings with you.
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Our Favorite Non-Toxic Crayons
There are a variety of supposed non-toxic crayons on the market today. After much research, I only found two crayon brands that met my expectations. Other brands are too vague about their ingredients to get my seal of approval. Here are my two favorites:
Honey Sticks Crayons
Honey Sticks crayons are made with 100% natural beeswax, and all of their ingredients are food-grade.
The colors are bold and vibrant, which, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting from a natural product, and they’re extremely well-rated on Amazon with 4.5 stars and over 7,000 reviews.
What’s more is that the brand doesn’t use any plastic in their packaging, and everything is recycled or biodegradable.
You can purchase the original crayon, which is small and chubby (perfect for those small, chubby baby & toddler hands), but Honey Sticks also makes a thinner version too, which is more like a conventional crayon.
Honey Sticks also makes bath crayons and a variety of other kids art supplies!
Eco-Kids is a popular brand for kids’ art supplies (especially their eco-dough), and their crayons are a great option for your kiddo as well.
The colors are rich and vibrant, and they have great reviews too.
We love that these crayons have a triangular shape, which keeps them from rolling around!
Since they’re made from a mixture of beeswax and soy wax, however, we’ve found that they’re more breakable than typical crayons (and they break a little easier than Honey Sticks).
Toxic Ingredients in Crayons
Unfortunately, even some crayons that are marketed as being “non-toxic” may contain harmful ingredients. Here are some of the toxic ingredients that might be lurking in your crayon box:
Heavy Metals. Some crayons have been found to contain heavy metals like cadmium and lead. These heavy metals are sometimes used as coloring agents. While the amount that’s used is below the safe levels for toys, it’s not within the limits for food products. That means your children should not be putting crayons in their mouths!
Asbestos. In a 2018 study, some “non-toxic” crayons were found to contain trace amounts of asbestos. Asbestos can harm the respiratory system and is a known carcinogen.
Benzene & Toluene. Most crayons on the market are made from paraffin wax. This is an inexpensive wax that’s made from petroleum. Though it’s generally safe in crayons, it can release benzene (which can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia) and toluene (which can damage the reproductive system) when it’s melted.
It’s worth noting that paraffin wax is not renewable or biodegradable, so those crayons will be sitting in a landfill as crayons forever.
How are Non-Toxic Crayons Made?
Non-toxic crayons, on the other hand, are typically made from renewable resources (like soy wax and beeswax), and they’re entirely biodegradable. They’re also much safer to our children’s health.
Soy Wax. Soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil, so it’s vegan.
Beeswax. Young bees secrete wax under their bellies (similar to the way in which we sweat), and the wax is typically harvested at the same time as honey.
Why are Beeswax Crayons Better?
Beeswax is more natural and less processed than paraffin wax and soy wax. It’s also less likely to break apart, so it makes great crayons.
Are Crayola Crayons Non-Toxic?
Unfortunately, Crayola crayons are not 100% non-toxic, even though their labels say otherwise. Some colors contain lead, which is safe for toys but not safe for food products.
In my opinion, Crayola crayons are perfectly safe for older kids who are less likely to put them in their mouths and eat them.
Hopefully this guide has helped you find some non-toxic crayons that you’re comfortable using with your kids! We’ve been doing a series on kids art supplies, so you may also be interested in our article about non-toxic kids paint.