Target is reportedly selling 'toxic' fidget spinners with potentially dangerous lead levels, but says it's fine because spinners aren't for children

Fidget spinnerU.S. PIRG Education FundThe fidget spinners, shown in-store alongside children’s toys.
  • Target is selling a fidget spinner with 330 times the federal legal lead level limit for toys, according to a new report.
  • The retailer told researchers that the sale was justified because the spinners aren’t marketed to kids.
  • However, the fidget spinners are sold near children’s toys in stores.

Target is selling fidget spinners with potentially dangerous lead levels, according to a new study.

A lab test by the non-profit PIRG Education Fund found that two fidget spinners sold at the retailer far exceeded the legal limit for lead in children’s toys. As of Wednesday, the fidget spinners were still being sold online, and the retailer had not made any indication it would pull the item from stores.

The federal legal limit for lead in children’s products is 100 parts per million (ppm). The center circle of the brass Fidget Wild Premium Spinner, distributed by Bulls-i-Toy, contains 33,000 ppm of lead, researchers found. The center of the metal version of the same spinner tested for 1,300 ppm of lead.

In an email to the researchers, Target’s vice president of corporate responsibility said that the fidget spinners did not need to meet federal lead limits because they were not marketed as children’s toys.

“The two fidget spinners cited in your letter are clearly marked on the package ‘appropriate for customers 14 and older,’ and are not marketed to children,” Target’s Jennifer Silberman wrote to the researchers in an email shared with Business Insider.

PIRG Education Fund provided photos of the fidget spinners alongside Star Wars and My Little Pony toys as evidence that while they may be labelled “14-plus,” they are sold alongside children’s toys in stores. Additionally, online the “Fidget Wild Spinner Premium Brass” is labelled for ages “six and up.”

Lead exposure can be extremely dangerous for children, potentially impacting mental development among other risks.

PIRG Education Fund is calling for the toys to be pulled from stores and for a recall to be issued.

“The buck has to stop with someone. CPSC stands for the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” Kara Cook-Schultz, the nonprofit’s toxics director, said in a statement. “Now is the time for it to stand up for consumers. We can’t sit idly by while children play with these toxic toys — and yes, these are toys.”

Target did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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