VICTORY! Target to Remove Leaded Fidget Spinners After Consumer Outcry

Today I am thrilled to declare victory on behalf of parents everywhere who want to trust that when they go to Target to buy toys for their kids that they will be getting SAFE and LEAD FREE products!

Tamara Rubin of Lead Safe Mama and I have been covering the safety of lead in fidget spinners for five months now. Wednesday morning we were thrilled that CBS This Morning ran a report about the recent study conducted by the US Public Interest Research Group that was triggered by our research. Based on our previous study of more than 80 fidget spinners, it was no surprise that they found high levels of lead in two different fidget spinners sold at Target.

USPIRG sent a letter to Target with the results of their tests and Target responded that they would not pull the fidget spinners containing high levels of lead off their shelves. They said that since the spinners in question were labeled for use by children 14 and over that they did not meet the legal definition of "toy" and were therefore NOT subject to Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations requiring toys contain less than 90 PPM lead.

After CBS and local Fox News stations ran the story nationwide, Target relented and removed the highly leaded spinners from their website and said they would remove them from store shelves. VICTORY!

What did we learn?

In the two press interviews I gave this week as well as the Facebook Live video we made after our interview with Fox News, I said that the thing that has affected change the fastest regarding toxins in consumer goods over the last decade is angry moms. When moms get educated about toxins in consumer goods, educate their friends about toxins in consumer goods and then reach out to companies and demand safer products, change happens.

This is exactly what happened with Target this week. Target wasn't going to change anything because 
legally they didn't have to. Cue the moms:

After two full days of pressure, Target finally decided to do the right thing and pull the fidget spinners off the website and off store shelves.

Lead in Fidget Spinners at Target

USPIRG found alarming levels of lead in two fidget spinners:

Fidget Wild Premium Brass Fidget Spinner
In tests completed in a CPSC accredited lab, the center button tested at 33,000 PPM lead and the arms tested at 22,000 PPM lead. The limit for lead in items intended for children is a mere 90 PPM - this fidget tests at 366 TIMES HIGHER than the legal limit of lead in items intended for children. 
Fidget Wild Premium Metal Fidget Spinner
In tests completed in a CPSC accredited lab, the center button tested at 1,300 PPM lead and the arms tested at 2520 PPM lead. The limit for lead in items intended for children is a mere 90 PPM - this fidget tests at 14 TIMES HIGHER than the legal limit of lead in items intended for children. 

Leaded Fidget Spinners Still Being Sold

Even though I am so glad to hear that Target is doing the right thing by getting leaded fidget spinners off their shelves, this problem wasn't exclusive to Target. Other retailers like Walmart and Amazon are still selling fidget spinners that contain lead. PLEASE, if this is an issue you care about, be sure to reach out to these companies as well and demand that they follow Target's lead and pull any fidget spinners containing more than 90PPM lead off their shelves - regardless of whether  they are labeled as being for adults or children over the age of 12.

How to Choose a Lead-Free Fidget

Because one in three fidget spinners tested came back positive for levels of lead above the legal limit for toys, the safest option is to make your own fidget spinner from items you already have at home like Legos!
If you want to purchase a fidget, instead of getting a spinner, I recommend purchasing a Zuru Fidget Cube from Antsy Labs instead. In our extensive testing, we have not yet found a fidget cube that contained any lead.

Read more:

Fidget Spinners: Are They Safe? on Creative Green Living
Report: Lead in Fidget Spinners from US Public Interest Research Group

About the Author:

Carissa is a green lifestyle advocate and mom of two active boys. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017). Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group.
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