Zhu Zhu Pets are made in China, in the least safe environment you can imagine. They are designed for children aged 4 and up, although on several sites the manufacturer recommends this product for children aged 3 – recommendation that does not comply with their own testing reports, made available by the company AFTER our editorial yesterday. According to this report, the toys were first tested in April 2009 – it is very possible that one toy in particular doesn’t comply with these safety norms, considering how many were recently produced to satisfy the public demands.
I am surprised that Russell Hornsby didn’t learn anything from his experience with Mattel, a company he worked for in the past, a company that has made the headlines specifically because its “Made in China” toys were recalled because of excessive lead in their manufacturing. Mattel offers now financial settlements for parents who bought a toy from Mattel or Fisher Price in 2007 or earlier. So here’s my logic: I believe that Mattel didn’t purposely produce lead infested toys; but the quality control had to suffer because these toys were manufactured in a country where quantity prevails over quality.
Hornsby’s Cepia could now be in the same boat Mattel was three years ago. Sure, we are not talking lead this time, but antimony and tin, however, the company should retest the most recent batch of toys to see if they comply. We have no doubts that the initial batch passed the tests. But what if the latest doesn’t? Little children, aged 4, might still put the toys in their mouth, and they could ingest the substance, that will eventually cause intoxications.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that toys should have no level of antimony whatsoever. I cringe when I read blog posts that defend a toy that is potential harmful for a child.
The current US standard is 60 ppm soluble antimony in paints and surface coatings used on children’s toys, not total antimony. And that is a big difference. – the “Smart” mama writes (!).
In other words, this lady is trying to tell you: give your child a toy reportedly containing 93 parts per million antimony in the fur, and 103 in the nose. These are “total” levels of the toxin in Mr. Snuggles, not “soluble” levels. Let your child breathe around and munch on the sucker (!) and see how fast he can get an antimony intoxication (symptoms include headache, coughing, anorexia, troubled sleep and vertigo).
By making public the initial test results for its best sellers, Cepia is definitely taking a step in the right direction. The next logical step would be to order new tests to see if there are any reasons to worry. Only new tests make a valid resolution.
We are skeptical as to if their PR firm The Zeno Group, asked these questions.
Trusting companies and their quality standards is one thing. But you and your family don’t want to be the next headline, when the next big recall comes about because of heavy metals contamination’s. A really smart company would have already had the answers to these questions, beforehand.
In the meanwhile, for parents who really care about the safety and health of their children, here is my best Christmas shopping tip: buy products “Made in America” – and ISO compliant. Try to buy “green toys” – they are not more expensive, and some are quite cool. Sure, the PR behind these toys is not as skilled as the PR behind toys produced by large companies, these toys are not “fashionable” – but they’ll keep your children safe. Buy toys from Green Toys, North Star, Plan Toys, HABA for example. Search online at Amazon for green toys, they have a large selection as well.
Watch out for recalls and product safety news from CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) – and if these are valid concerns in US, they are valid everywhere – these are the recalls for December (so far), and here the list for November. Note that among the recalls you can also find apparel, food, strollers and many other products.