Consumer Group Claims Zhu Zhu Toy Hamsters Unsafe

Filed under: In The News

Zhu Zhu pet manufacturer, Cepia LLC, disputes claims that the toys are unsafe. Credit: Mark Lennihan, AP

A consumer group has alleged that one of the most sought-after toys of the holiday season, Zhu Zhu hamster "Mr. Squiggles," carries high amounts of antimony, a potentially hazardous substance. However, the makers of Zhu Zhu pets, Cepia LLC, says the products are safe.

CNN reports that Mr. Squiggles, the light-brown version of the Zhu Zhu hamsters, has unsafe levels of antimony, according to Dara O'Rourke, co-founder of the California-based GoodGuide.

"We found levels of about 93 to 106 parts per million," O'Rourke tells CNN. "The new federal standard is about 60 parts per million."

Antimony is used in textiles and plastics to prevent them from catching fire, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry. Prolonged exposure can cause lung and heart problems, ulcers and diarrhea, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Cepia disputes the claims and says that the products have been thoroughly tested.

"All our products are subjected to several levels of rigorous safety testing conducted by our own internal teams, as well as the world's leading independent quality assurance testing organization, and also by independent labs engaged by our retail partners," Russ Hornsby, CEO of Cepia, says in a written statement. "The results of every test prove that our products are in compliance with all government and industry safety standards."

"They do not contain high levels of antimony in any way," Bruce Katz, a senior vice president of Cepia, tells CNN.

What do you think? If you can actually get your hands on a Zhu Zhu pet, would you give it to your child?

Related: Find Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters, Toy Hamster Shortage Has Some Parents Paying High Prices

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.