Toying with danger? Some fidget spinners may have 'toxic' lead levels

Fidget spinners

The small inexpensive toys that recently became a national craze could be dangerous for your health, according to a report from an advocacy group.

The US Public Interest Research Group on Thursday released a report stating that Target stores are selling some fidget spinners with high levels of lead.

The research revealed some of the spinners could contain as much as 300 times the federal limit for lead in children's products.

Here are the affected fidget spinners:

  • Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass

    • The center circle tested for 33,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead.

  • Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal

    • The center circle tested for 1,300 ppm of lead.

Target and the toy's manufacturer said these spinners are recommended for children (and adults) 14 years and older which means Consumer Product Safety Commission lead restrictions for children do not apply.

Fidget spinners are supposed to be calming and fun, especially for students struggling to focus. But after some dangerous incidents involving the popular gizmos, the CPSC issued new fidget spinner safety guidance for consumers and businesses.

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"The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reviewed and explicitly defined fidget spinners as 'general use products.' They are not defined by the CPSC as toys," a Target spokesperson told CBS News.

The watchdog group US PIRG argues that the potentially toxic spinners are sold alongside toys for children age 6 and up.

“All fidget spinners have play value as children’s toys regardless of age labeling,” said U.S. PIRG Education Fund toxics director. "The buck has to stop with someone. CPSC stands for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Now is the time for it to stand up for consumers. We can't sit idly by while children play with these toxic toys — and yes, these are toys.”

All your questions about fidget spinners, answered

Lead exposure is damaging for young children because of its impact on development.

“Even small amounts of lead in toys can be ingested when transferred from fingers to mouth or from fingers to food,” said national lead expert Helen Binns, MD, pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Lead harms the developing brain and is easily ingested through normal hand to mouth behaviors. Beware of these two fidget spinners, as they have dangerous amounts of lead.”

PIRG Education Fund is calling for the toys to be pulled from shelves and wants a recall issued.