Lead in Fidget Spinners


Lead in Fidget Spinners toys being offered in retail stores reported to have 300 times the allowable levels for lead.


FACTS (brief, 6 sentences): (from OC Register article)

A consumer advocacy group says two types of fidget spinners being sold at Target stores could be dangerous. The items — Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal — were found to contain as much as 330 times the federal legal limit for lead in children’s products, according to lab tests conducted for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) Education Fund.  Target said the fidget spinners, which sell for $19.99 online and in store, are not toys, but rather “general use products” because they are marketed to users 14 and up. (Federal law defines “children’s products” as items that are designed primarily for use by those 12 and under.)  Exposure to high levels of lead has been shown to cause lead poisoning, which can cause organ damage and long-term health problems.

Target reportedly has since pulled the items from its shelves.  (See below.)



ISSUES (Summarize both sides argument, both perspectives. You can use bullet points):

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and implementing CPSC regulations state: “The law defines a “children’s product” as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. In determining whether a consumer product is primarily intended for a child 12 years of age or younger, the following factors will be considered:

– A statement by the manufacturer about the intended use of the product, including a label on the product, if such statement is reasonable.

– Whether the product is represented in its packaging, display, promotion, or advertising as appropriate for use by children 12 years of age or younger.

– Whether the product is commonly recognized by consumers as being intended for use by a child 12 years of age or younger.

– The Age Determination Guidelines issued by the Commission staff in September 2002, and any successor to such guidelines.


Standards for lead in attached US PIRG article/document.


LAW (with references, no need for blue book citations. This is the most important part, make sure the attorneys can answer any questions from callers on the topic. You can use bullet points):

Because of lead’s toxicity, in 1978 it was banned in household paint, in products marketed to children, and in dishes and cookware in the United States.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008.  At the end of 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted to lift the long-standing “stay of enforcement” for the third-party testing and certification requirements for toys and other children’s products subject to the lead content phthalates and ASTM F-963 mandatory toy safety standard imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA).


DETAILED FACTS (tell the story):

Lead:  Exposure to high levels of lead has been shown to cause lead poisoning, which can cause organ damage and long-term health problems.

Safety:  The products are supplied by Bulls-I-Toys, based in Des Moines.  “Safety is one of our top priorities,” Howard Chizick, a spokesman for Bulls-I-Toys, said in an email. “All of our products are tested and comply with [Consumer Product Safety Commission] safety standards.”

Retailers and PIRG:  U.S. PIRG said it sent representatives to five Target stores around the country who found the spinners being sold in the toy department. The Fidget Wild Spinner Premium Brass is also being sold on Target’s website. “Framed as a toy, the fidget spinner is also a great stress-relief tool,” the online description reads. Below that, it says the manufacturer categorizes the toy as being for ages “6 years and up.” (The product’s box, however, specifies the toy is for “ages 14+.”)  “Saying fidget spinners aren’t toys defies common sense, as millions of parents whose kids play with spinners can tell you,” said Kara Cook-Schultz, toxics director for U.S. PIRG.  The advocacy group says it has notified the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal body, of the high lead levels. A CPSC spokeswoman said she could not comment specifically on the products sold by Target. On its website, the CPSC says “most fidget spinners are general use products unless they are primarily intended for children 12 years of age and younger.”

Lead is not discernible by sight or smell. Lead exposure is particularly damaging for young children because of its impact on development. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to undermine IQ, attentiveness, and academic achievement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes clear that any amount of lead in a child’s blood is unsafe.

Moreover, since the effects of lead exposure cannot be reversed, it is especially important to prevent lead exposure to children in the first place.  Unfortunately, toys can pose a risk in part because lead is used in other countries and can be found in imported products.  Children can inhale or come in contact with this dust when they put toys in or near their mouths.



OTHER FACTS (interesting facts, related facts, trivia, etc.):

Target pulls fidget spinners over lead concerns








ARTICLE LINKS (so we can print them out):


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lead: Toys, www.cdc.gov/nceh .

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lead: Prevention Tips, www.cdc.gov/nceh .

Consumer Product Safety Commission, Total Lead Content, http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Business–Manufacturing/Business-Education/Lead/Total-Lead-Content/

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) Compliance Solutions, http://www.intertek.com/cpsia/

The Age Determination Guidelines,  https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/blk_media_adg.pdf


MEDIA (less than a 2 minutes FUNNY sound bite. You can include a couple of options. We realize that for some topics there is not much):




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