U.S. CPSC Dismisses Concerns Over Zhu Zhu Pets

After a consumer group raised concerns about the levels of toxic substances found in the popular Zhu Zhu Pets “Mr. Squiggles” hamsters, federal regulators dismissed concerns about the safety of the popular toys.

Good Guide, a consumer group that rates the hottest Christmas toys every year, released a report on Saturday that indicated Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters contain toxic levels of antimony, a heavy metal that can cause severe illness, heart and lung problems. However, according to a statement provided to the Associated Press, the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission confirmed Monday that the toys are “not out of compliance” with safety standards.

Federal regulations limit the amount of antimony to a maximum of 60 parts per million. GoodGuide claimed its own tests revealed that the Zhu Zhu hamsters contained levels between 93 and 106 parts per million.

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In a correction press release issued December 7, Good Guide retracted it’s statement that the chemicals found in Zhu Zhu Pets and some other toys exceed federal limits.

“Since issuing our release, we have learned that the testing methodology used in the federal standards (a soluble method) is different than the methodology we used in our testing (a surface-base method),” said the consumer group on Monday afternoon. “Accordingly, while we accurately reported the chemical levels in the toys that we measured using our testing method, we should not have compared our results to federal standards. We regret this error.”

Cepia LLC, the manufacturer of Zhu Zhu Pets, has defended the safety of the popular toy, indicating that they have tested the toys three times and found them to be within federal regulatory standards. The company provided copies of the testing data on its website after GoodGide’s original allegations were raised.

The testing method used by GoodGuid was not approved by the CPSC, utilizing x-rays to measure the total amount of certain substances, such as antimony and lead, in the toy. The CPSC does not base compliance on the total amount of the substances found in the toy, instead, it determines compliance on how much of a toxic material would actually leach out if the child chewed, sucked on or swallowed a toy.

The CPSC indicates that the Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters had no painted surfaces and therefore was not subject to the heavy metal testing standards that GoodGuide tried to apply.


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