A consumer protection group has accused Target of selling fidget spinners that have far too much lead in them for children’s products, sparking an argument with the retailer over whom the gadgets are intended for.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) said Wednesday that two variants of the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner products surpassed the federal legal limits for lead in toys.
The limit is 100 parts per million (ppm), but, according to group’s lab tests, the center circle of the “Brass” version of the spinner has 33,000ppm, while that in the “Metal” version has 1,300ppm. The arms of the devices also exceed the legal limits, though by lesser amounts.
However, according to Target (TGT), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the spinners’ distributors—a company called Bulls i Toy—the spinners aren’t toys. All three claim that they are instead “general use products,” as they are not labelled for use by people aged 12 or under.
“The two fidget spinners cited are clearly marked on the package as ‘appropriate for customers ages 14 and older,’ and are not marketed to children,” Target told The Washington Post. “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.”
Prolonged lead exposure isn’t good for anyone, but it is particularly bad for kids, as it can cause developmental problems, cognitive losses and even death.
U.S. PIRG says everyone needs to stop pretending that kids don’t use fidget spinners, and that Target should issue a recall for the affected Fidget Wild Premium Spinner products, which it even advertises on its website as being “framed as a toy.” Although the packaging says “14+,” the website notes that the manufacturer recommends the spinners are suitable for ages 6 and up.
“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 at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund.