U.S. Agency: Zhu Zhu Toys Meet Safety Standard
Consumer Product Safety Commission Responds to Claims of Antimony Contamination
Dec. 8, 2009 -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission disputes
allegations that Zhu Zhu Pets, one of the hottest-selling toys this holiday
season, are contaminated with unsafe levels of antimony.
GoodGuide, a new consumer group, said on Monday that its tests showed that
the furry toys carried unsafe concentrations of antimony, a heavy metal.
That's just not so, says Cepia LLC, the company that makes Mr. Squiggles and
other Zhu Zhu Pets. To prove it, Cepia released premarketing test results from
a highly respected independent lab. Contrary to the GoodGuide tests, the report
from Bureau Veritas labs shows that none of the Zhu Zhu Pets caries unsafe
levels of antimony or any other contaminant.
A review of those tests by the CPSC shows they were conducted properly --
unlike the GoodGuide test, which used a scanning technology that does not yield
definitive safety results for antimony.
"After meeting with the company and reviewing independent test results that
used the right testing procedures, we have concluded this toy does not violate
a new federal toy safety standard that covers antimony and other heavy metals,"
CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson tells WebMD.
In a news release, GoodGuide said the "higher-than-allowed presence" of
antimony on the toys "can lead to cancer, lung and heart problems, and impacts on
Because of the GoodGuide complaint, the CPSC says it will conduct its own
tests of the toy. Wolfson says the CPSC takes the GoodGuide allegation
seriously, but the investigation does not mean the toy should be considered
"CPSC is looking into the Zhu Zhu pet toy and we will complete our review
swiftly," the CPSC says in an official statement.
No recall is planned, Wolfson says.
Meanwhile, Cepia is vigorously defending the safety of Zhu Zhu Pets.
"Mr. Squiggles is absolutely safe and has passed the most rigorous testing
in the toy industry to consumer health and safety," Cepia says in a news
GoodGuide, started in September 2008, is a consumer group led by Dara J.
O'Rourke, PhD, assistant professor of environmental science at the University
of California, Berkeley. The group issues ratings of toys and other products
based on product ingredients, screening for contaminants, and manufacturers'
GoodGuide tests for contaminants using a handheld device called an X-ray
fluorescence gun. The test can detect antimony but cannot accurately measure
toxic levels of the metal. That requires a different test, called a solubility
"We did not test these toys using the new government standard for toy
companies to determine the 'soluble' level of contaminants in a toy," O'Rourke
admits in a blog entry posted Monday on the GoodGuide web site.
Antimony is a silvery white metal element, usually mixed with other metals
for use in batteries, solder, sheet and pipe metal, ammunition, and pewter.
Antimony can harm health in concentrations greater than 60 parts per