It seems they could be. Although I couldn’t find anything that said for sure one way or the other, it turns out that chalk pastels are made from cadmium which is a toxic metal most commonly found in industrial workplaces. It can also come in the form of cadmium pigments which is the dry form of cadmium and is what typically makes up chalk pastels.
Cadmium was more regularly used in the ’50s and ’60s but when experts were made aware of its harmful effects, they imposed industry wide limits so that workers’ exposure would be significantly reduced.
When cadmium is ingested in any form people experience flu-like symptoms, pneomonitis, and severe kidney problems among a host of other health related problems.
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