Parents may want to rethink any plans to include the wildly popular (and highly addictive) “fidget spinner” in their children’s stockings this Christmas season. A CBS News report details results from a consumer advocacy group who tested the devices (after catching wind of a potential issue from the Lead Safe Mama Facebook page). The findings of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) were dire in regard to two models, which were both found to contain “dangerously high” lead levels:
The Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass tested at 33,000 parts per million for lead — some 300 times the 100 parts per million allowable for children’s toys. The lead level in another model, the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner in Metal, tested at 1,300 parts per million.
This does not bode well for the not-so-rare fidget spinner, which has already been labeled with choking-hazard warnings by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However and since the CPSC’s lead-restriction guidelines differ between items marketed to adults and those targeted at children under 12, Target says its in the clear to keep selling these models. That’s because the two Fidget Wild Premium Spinner varieties are labeled for those age 14+.
Further, Target spokeperson Lee Henderson leans on the CPSC’s classification of fidget spinners as “general use products” rather than “toys.” That is, “unless they are primarily intended for children 12 years of age and younger.” Henderson says that Target has taken note of the lead findings but decided to keep selling Fidget Wild Premium Spinners, both online and in stores:
“The two fidget spinners cited in their letter are clearly marked on the package as ‘appropriate for customers ages 14 and older,’ and are not marketed to children. As a result, the fidget spinners identified are not regulated as toys or children’s products and are not required to meet children’s product standards.”
Of course, Target may want to rethink stocking these items in the toy section, as shown in this photograph alongside Star Wars mini-light sabres and fidget spinners that are labeled for 6-year-old children. U.S. PIRG Toxics Director Kara Cook-Shultz told CBS News that the Target website described the two spinner models for ages “6 and up” on the retailer’s website, but the product page currently reflects a “14 and older” description.
If nothing else, these reports should cause grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles — some of whom may be playing with these devices as well — to take extra care while shopping this holiday season, which should be happening anyway, with or without Target’s help.