Monday, December 7, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pet Controversy

FROM ABC: A popular stocking-stuffer is getting thumbs down from a consumer group today. It's just one of a highly-popular line of mechanical hamsters called Zhu- Zhu pets, but the makers insist none of their hamster toys pose any hazard to children.

They are one of the must-have toys this holiday season-the life-like hamsters called Zhu Zhu pets are zooming off the shelves. A concerned parent said, "As much as they may want it, You know, I gotta side on the side of safety and you know they're gonna have to pass on it."

The 'Good Guide' Consumer Advocacy Group says one of these hamsters-- is unsafe. The character known as Mr. Squiggles, carries high amounts of the potentially poisonous metal - antimony. Dara O'Rourke with GoodGuide said, "which is a metal which has potential health hazards related to it. Which if ingested in high enough levels can lead to cancer, reproductive health, and other human health hazards."

Antimony is often found in toys, but the government limits it to 60 parts per million. Testers for good guide say when they used an x-ray test, they found up to 103 parts per million in Mr. squiggles. Parent Diana Cordeo said, "That would certainly change my decision for getting it." Parent Ejesh Berdyyev said, "It's a horrible toy. I don't want my daughter to play with it."

But a renowned toxicologist we spoke with said those levels of antimony are far too low to cause any short or long term health problems. And another consumer group says the maker of the toys uses a different test that actually shows how much antimony will come off the toy - and that test, not the x ray, is the industry standard. O'Rourke said, "We're not recommending that you throw them away. But if you're concerned about it then we recommend that you call the company or potentially return the product if you feel it's not safe enough for your kids."

Cepia Corporation, the maker of Zhu Zhu pets - released this statement: " Our products are in compliance with all government and industry safety standards. They do not contain high levels of antimony in any way."

I actually had never heard of these things until today. Boy am I out of the loop on this one! My son just keeps asking me for a Nintendo DS.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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