Researchers testing a broad array of the popular children’s toys known fidget spinners have found an alarming amount of toxic contaminants that may prove deadly in the hands of kids across America.
The spinners, which use ballbearings and balanced blades to rotate, are often produced overseas in countries that do not implement strict quality controls. Now, researchers have said that the toys may contain dangerous amounts of lead if they’re being brought in from places like China.
This alert does not impact all of the fidget spinners. The problem is that we cannot say which toys are impacted.
Unfortunately, since there aren’t any patents preventing the production of the toys, anyone can manufacture them from anywhere.
Rubin, an independent lead poisoning prevention advocate, first tested three fidget spinners sent to her by a friend with an XRF instrument. Two were lead-free, but one had very high levels of lead and some mercury. She then disassembled a fidget spinner with LED lights and found both lead and mercury. She found 19,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead and 1,000 ppm of mercury.
These numbers are sobering because scientists consider under 90 ppm of lead to be the safe threshold in children’s toys, according to Rubin. But the paint on the LED light spinner contained 334 ppm of lead and 155 ppm of mercury in one test. The unpainted metal base contained 1,562 ppm of mercury and 2,452 ppm of lead.
Rubin later tested six more fidget spinners and found a $31 from Yomaxer that contained 42,800 ppm of lead. She noted ordinary consumers won’t have access to an XRF instrument, which can cost around $50,000. She recommends avoiding fidget spinners available for purchase and instead making your own, such as a fidget spinner out of LEGOs.
Just last week, 200,000 units of of the popular toy were seized by EU customs officials for failing to adhere to the health standards set by the Union.
Parents should make every effort to source the manufacturer of the product they are purchasing in order to determine whether the toys their children are handling are safe for them.