Fidget Spinner Model Discovered to Have 300 Times More Lead Than Toys Are Allowed

A concerned mom's study led the U.S. Public Interest Research Group to do more research on the toy.

An Oregon mom is warning parents against buying fidget spinners for their kids after finding a concerning level of lead on the popular toy.

Tamara Rubin, the Portland mother-of-four behind the popular Facebook group “Lead Safe Mama,” said she tested her kids’ fidget spinners with an X-ray spectrometer.

She then discovered the piece in the center tested positive for lead.

“It’s definitely a hazard for children,” Rubin said.

Her study caught the attention of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG), which confirmed a popular model of the gadget, the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass, had 33,000 parts per million for lead, about 300 times the maximum level allowed for children’s toys.

Another model by the same company tested at 1,300 parts per million.

“The reason lead is a large concern — especially in children's products — is that when children are exposed to high levels of lead they can experience things like memory loss, learning disabilities,” US PIRG's toxics program director, Kara Cook-Shultz, told CBS News.

That’s why Rubin first became involved in consumer advocacy. Rubin said her son is still recovering from the effects of lead poisoning 12 years ago, when she claims contractors used unsafe methods to remove lead paint.

Lead poisoning can also lead to brain and nervous system conditions, stomach and kidney problems, high blood pressure and headaches in adults.

However, after Target and the manufacturer were provided the results of US PIRG’s findings, they decided not to pull the toys from their shelves or from their website.

Target spokesman Lee Henderson said the toys are marked for kids over the age of 14, which means the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s lead restrictions do not apply.

There are no lead-level prohibitions for products marked for children 12 and over.

In a statement, Henderson said: "The two fidget spinners cited in their letter are clearly marked on the package as 'appropriate for customers ages 14 and older,' and are not marketed to children. As a result, the fidget spinners identified are not regulated as toys or children's products and are not required to meet children's product standards."

Target added that fidget spinners are labeled as a “general use” product rather than toys.

The manufacturer of the specific model, Bulls-I-Toy, wrote in a statement: "There are no mandatory CPSC requirements for it." 

However, Cook-Shultz responded that fidget spinners are sold to children as toys in the same aisles as other products marketed as toys.

"All fidget spinners have play value as children's toys regardless of labeling," Cook-Shultz said. "We can't sit idly by while children play with these toxic toys. And, yes, they are toys."

Fidget spinners have come under fire since going viral for parts that can easily break off and become a choking hazard.

Many light-up fidget spinners also contain lithium batteries that can cause severe internal burns if swallowed.

An 11-year-old boy was hospitalized over the summer after his finger became caught in the gadget.