Closings and delays

Target pulls fidget spinners found to have high levels of lead

WASHINGTON – Target has decided to stop selling two fidget spinners that were found to contain high levels of lead, according to a consumer advocacy group’s report.

Earlier this week, U.S. Public Interest Research Group blasted the retail giant for not immediately recalling the fidget spinners. Despite the two products being sold in the toy aisle, Target argued that they were for “general use” and were not deemed children’s products by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

After news of the PIRG report spread, Target reversed their stance and decided to stop carrying the two items, the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal, issuing this statement Friday:

“While these two products comply with all CPSC guidelines for fidget spinners, based on the concerns raised, we’re removing them from our assortment. Additionally, we’re working closely with our vendors to ensure all of the fidget spinners carried at Target meet the CPSC’s guidelines for children’s products.”

U.S. PIRG Toxics Director Kara Cook-Schultz praised the decision in a statement, saying:

“We are pleased to see that Target is not selling these products online anymore. We are delighted to hear that they will also take them off the shelves. This is a big win for consumers. Hopefully this will mean that Target will only sell safe products this holiday season.”

Lab reports found that the two fidget spinners contained high levels of lead, well over the federal legal limit of 100 parts per million.

The report found the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass tested at 300 times the allowed lead amount for children’s toys, while the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner in Metal tested at 13 times the allowed level.

Products that are designated for general use can include higher lead levels than those for children.

The CPSC says on its website that “most fidget spinners are general use products unless they are primarily intended for children 12 years of age and younger.”

In determining if they are for children or not, the CPSC looks at the following, “whether the product and packaging designs are primarily intended to appeal to a child 12 years of age and younger, and the product’s age grading.”

Danny Katz, director of PIRG, blasted the “general use” classification, saying Thursday, “All fidget spinners have play value as children’s toys regardless of age labeling.”

Exposure to high amounts of lead have been shown to cause lead poisoning that can lead to organ damage and long-term health problems.

The CPSC posted this guidance for parents on its website:

Fidget spinners and children:

  • Keep fidget spinners away from children under 3 years of age.
  • The plastic and metal spinners have small pieces that can be a choking hazard. Choking incidents involving children up to age 14 have been reported.
  • “Light up” fidget spinners may come with button or lithium coin cell batteries. These batteries are an ingestion risk for children and the larger lithium coin cells can lead to sever burns in the esophagus.
  • Warn children of all ages not to put fidget spinners or small pieces in their mouths and not to play with the fidget spinner near their faces.

In September, WITI sent fidget spinners from Amazon, Walmart and Target to a lab for testing. While the fidget spinners from Target didn’t test above the allowable level of lead for children, multiple spinners from Amazon and one that was sold online by Walmart did: