Other than being incredibly annoying, those fidget spinners that your kid can’t put down might be a real hazard to their health.
A new report by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found that there are dangerous levels of the toxic metal lead in many of them.
The toys – what Salon calls “the latest in a long line of ‘skill-based amusements’ like spinning tops and yo-yos,” have become ubiquitous in convenience stores, flea markets and toy shops. They are carried around by kids, collected and messed with in school classrooms.
At least two of the dozen models tested were found to contain unsafe levels of lead. Those two brands are “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass” and “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal.”
Most of these are cheaply made in Chinese factories with little oversight or quality control.
The research by PIRG found that the devices had lead in the paint on the surface of the toys and on the layer immediately underneath.
Lead is a toxic to humans. Keeping lead out of the hands of young children is a public health emergency. It impairs bran development and cognitive ability and has life-long consequences for mental health and ability.
But federal regulations covering lead in toys only applies to toys made for children under 12. To get around that, Bulls i Toy, the company who makes the two models said in a letter to U.S. PIRG that the spinners are marketed toward people 14 and up, and therefore exempt from federal regulations about lead in toys. Target, which sells them, has no plans to stop. It also argued that the “14 and up” distinction makes these general-use toys, not meant for kids.
No lead level is considered safe. But children who are simply playing with the toys are likely not in any risk. Lead doesn’t go through the skin. The problem is when some of the paint flakes off or the child puts the toy in their mouth. Health experts said that children should have their fidget spinners taken away, unless you’re 100% certain the device contains no lead.
Dr. Jerome Paulson, an emeritus professor and pediatrician at George Washington University said “there is no lead level that is safe, so we don’t want kids exposed to lead at any level. We’re more concerned about younger kids, because their brains are less finished, if you will. I understand these are ostensibly made for older kids … but that’s a distinction without a difference. The manufacturer and the sellers are fooling themselves if they think these won’t get into the hands of younger kids.”
Lead is toxic for adults, too. If you’re one of the adults who chews on your pen, don’t chew on your fidget spinner. You could be lead-poisoned, just like your kid could be.
What do you think? Will you take your kids’ fidget spinners away? Or just tell them not to stick it in their mouth? Or is this whole thing overblown? Sound off below and let us know what you think!