It seems the gadgets, which employ ballbearings and balanced blades inside plastic casing to spin, have been found in some cases to contain dangerous amounts of lead and mercury.
All fidget spinners? Of course not. The problem, though, is that there are no patents governing who can and can’t manufacture them, and little-to-no way to confirm which ones are made under quality controls and which ones are from places like China where anything goes.
AFF’s Brett MacDonald notes:
Just last week, 200,000 units of of the popular toy were seized by EU customs officials for failing to adhere to the health standards set by the Union.
AFF also cites Tamara Rubin, an anti-lead-poisoning activist, who tested several fidget spinner samples:
Two were lead-free, but one had very high levels of lead and some mercury. She then disassembled a fidget spinner with LED lights and found both lead and mercury. She found 19,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead and 1,000 ppm of mercury.
These numbers are sobering because scientists consider under 90 ppm of lead to be the safe threshold in children’s toys, according to Rubin. But the paint on the LED light spinner contained 334 ppm of lead and 155 ppm of mercury in one test. The unpainted metal base contained 1,562 ppm of mercury and 2,452 ppm of lead.
Rubin later tested six more fidget spinners and found a $31 from Yomaxer that contained 42,800 ppm of lead. She noted ordinary consumers won’t have access to an XRF instrument, which can cost around $50,000.
Wow, who expected 2017 would bring us a reminder of the days where parents had to worry about the likes of lead paint on Matchbox cars? Of course, this sort of problem isn’t as obsolete as we’d like to imagine; in 2015, CNN reported on the discovery of asbestos in crayons and other toys imported from — again — China.
It’s another reminder that parenting requires constant vigilance — even from the most unexpected places.