If you are a parent with lingering doubts about the safety of one of the hottest toys on the market, learn what makes Zhu Zhu Pets safe again for children.
Zhu Zhu Pets
The hottest toy of the 2009 holiday season was the robotic hamsters known as Zhu Zhu Pets. A great alternative to a live hamster, and at only $10, an inexpensive gift for children, the Zhu Zhu Pets flew off of shelves around the world.
Zhu Zhu Pets Safety Controversy
Right at the height of the toy's popularity, concerning reports began to come out from a consumer safety group, San Francisco-based GoodGuide, about the toy's safety. According to testing carried out by GoodGuide on the 30 most popular toys at the time, the Zhu Zhu Pet Mr. Squiggles tested with high levels of a chemical called antimony on the toy's nose and whiskers.
Cepia LLC, the toy's manufacturer, flatly denied these claims; according to statements issued by Cepia LLC, the toy was safe and did not contain antimony or other heavy metals. Parents who had children clamoring for this toy or who had already purchased the toy did not know which way to turn, especially since the toys remained on the shelves.
The Hazard of Antimony
The concern that sent parent's into a frenzy was that antimony, a metal used in flame retardants, could be ingested by their children, were the children likely to put the toy in their mouths. Antimony is considered safe in toys only if present in less than 60 parts per million. The testing carried out by GoodGuide found that the toy tested as high as 103 parts per million on the nose of Mr. Squiggles. The concern is that ingestion of this much antimony could cause lung disease, heart problems and stomach problems such as vomiting, diarrhea and ulcers if exposure continues over a long enough period of time.
What Makes Zhu Zhu Pets Safe Again
Zhu Zhu Pets were never recalled or pulled from toy store shelves, and the product itself has been unchanged. What makes Zhu Zhu Pets safe again for your children?
As it turns out, the toys were never a hazard at all. Federal testing of the toys in question, including the nose of Mr. Squiggles, found that the antimony in the toy only amounted to 2 parts per million, far below the cutoff of 60. What happened?
It seems that consumer group GoodGuide utilizes a different form of testing for metals such as antimony than the testing carried out by The Consumer Product Safety Commission. While both types of testing can detect the presence of antimony and other heavy metals, the tests rate the amount of metal in two different ways.
Therefore, when you test a product by one standard, and you try to compare the findings to a different standard, you are essentially comparing apples to oranges; they are both accurate tests but of two entirely different natures.
What This Means for You
If you have a Zhu Zhu Pet already in your home, or if your child is asking for one, go ahead and relax. The popular toy is completely safe, and your child is in no danger of health problems even if the toy is placed in the mouth. You can turn your attention to finding the toy without worrying about what else will come with it.