Target selling fidget spinners with unsafe levels of lead: Study

Retail giant Target (NYSE:TGT) is selling fidget spinners, one of this year’s most popular gadgets, with levels of lead deemed unsafe for children, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG, found that Target is selling two types of fidget spinners that contain as much as 330 times the acceptable amount of lead for young children.

The two products are the “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass” and the “Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal,” which tested for 33,000 parts per million (ppm) and 1,300 ppm of lead, respectively. The legal amount of lead considered acceptable in children’s products is 100 ppm.

Fidget spinners have been marketed as a therapeutic tool to help stop “fidgeting” and maintain focus; they have even been banned in some schools because they have become a distraction in classrooms. However, even as the holidays approach, Target is not backing down on its stance to sell the product both in its stores nationwide, and on its website. The reason? It along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the manufacturer, Bulls-I-Toy, say the products aren’t required to meet lead safety requirements because they are not technically designed for children.

“According to official guidance from the CPSC regarding Fidget Spinners: ‘Most fidget spinners are general use products unless they are primarily intended for children 12 years of age and younger.’ The CPSC guidance on Fidget Spinners further notes, ‘If a Fidget Spinner is a general use product, there are no mandatory CPSC requirements for it,’ Bulls-I-Toy wrote in a letter to the consumer advocacy group, defending its decision to continue selling the products, which it says are labeled “Ages 14+.”

In a statement to FOX Business, Target also pointed to the CPSC's safety requirements to explain why the product was still on shelves.

"Target is committed to providing high quality and safe products to our guests, and we closely review all product safety claims that are brought to our attention. The CPSC has specific guidance in place for manufacturers of fidget spinners, which are carried at a variety of retailers," Target spokesperson Jenna Reck said.

The consumer advocacy group is pushing for a recall because of “how Target markets the spinners -- in the toy aisle and also on its website."

High levels of lead can affect multiple systems in the body and is especially harmful to young children, according to the World Health Organization. Lead accumulates over time and is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones, where it has a toxicant effect.