Breaking News
August 14, 2018 - Wearable devices and ‘mhealth’ technology emerge as promising tools for better health
August 14, 2018 - Phase 2 Clinical Data Published Showing Summit’s Ridinilazole Preserved Gut Microbiome of Patients with CDI
August 14, 2018 - Cardiac progenitor cells undergo a cell fate switch to build coronary arteries
August 14, 2018 - Revealed: The molecular mechanism underlying hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or “workaholic heart”
August 14, 2018 - New technology shows potential to streamline the analysis of proteins
August 14, 2018 - Rethinking the stroke rule ‘time is brain’
August 14, 2018 - Incidence of coronary artery compression in children may be more common than previously thought
August 14, 2018 - Study helps to better understand disease caused by Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
August 14, 2018 - AI platform identifies acute neurological illnesses faster than human diagnosis
August 14, 2018 - American College of Rheumatology receives grants to support development of lupus clinical trials
August 14, 2018 - New study explains why women get more migraines than men
August 14, 2018 - American Heart Association Urges Screen Time Limits for Youth
August 14, 2018 - Brief interventions during routine care reduce alcohol use among men with HIV
August 14, 2018 - New genome analysis could identify people at higher risk of common deadly diseases
August 14, 2018 - NIH grant for Mount Sinai to study use of inhaled corticosteroids for treatment of sickle cell disease
August 14, 2018 - Daicel supplies free nanodiamond samples to international researchers
August 14, 2018 - Switching anti-psychotic drugs in first-episode schizophrenia patients does not improve clinical outcomes
August 14, 2018 - Study to examine whether modulating gut bacteria can improve cardiac function in heart failure patients
August 14, 2018 - AI technology could hold key to improving health services
August 14, 2018 - One out of two children not getting enough nutrients needed for their health
August 14, 2018 - Mono-antiplatelet therapy after aortic heart valve replacements may work as well as two drugs
August 14, 2018 - Aid-in-dying patient chooses his last day
August 14, 2018 - Exercise Really Can Chase Away the Blues, to a Point
August 14, 2018 - Surgical mesh implants may cause autoimmune disorders
August 14, 2018 - Researchers develop revolutionary zebrafish model to gain more insight into bone diseases
August 14, 2018 - Researchers discover secret communication hotline between breast cancers and normal cells
August 14, 2018 - Study examines how a person adapts to visual field loss after stroke
August 14, 2018 - Researchers show how specialized nucleic acid-based nanostructures could help target cancer cells
August 14, 2018 - Reducing opioid prescriptions for one operation can also spill over to other procedures
August 14, 2018 - E-cigarettes not so safe but still better than cigarettes
August 14, 2018 - Researchers find link between common ‘harmless’ virus and cardiovascular damage
August 14, 2018 - Initiation of PIMs associated with higher risk of fracture-specific hospitalizations and mortality
August 14, 2018 - Genetically modified mosquitoes and special bed nets help tackle deadly diseases
August 14, 2018 - Advances in treating hep C lead to new option for transplant patients
August 14, 2018 - Study finds quality of doctor-patient discussions about lung cancer screening to be ‘poor’
August 14, 2018 - MSU researchers uncover the effects of aging on regenerative ability of kidneys
August 14, 2018 - Better conditioning, throwing mechanics can help reduce elbow injuries in young baseball pitchers
August 14, 2018 - Brain game doesn’t offer brain gain
August 14, 2018 - Reproductive choices facing women with disabilities require careful consideration
August 14, 2018 - Scientists pinpoint the cause of a rare childhood seizure disorder
August 14, 2018 - Lumpectomy plus radiation associated with reduced risk of breast cancer death, study finds
August 14, 2018 - UAB study shows how ion channel differentiates newborn and mature neurons in the brain
August 14, 2018 - Experts highlight key knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in Ebola vaccine research
August 14, 2018 - Discovery could lead to new drugs against infection and inflammation
August 14, 2018 - Infection Prevention Differs Between Small, Large Hospitals
August 14, 2018 - Mom still matters—In study, young adults tended to prioritize parents over friends
August 14, 2018 - Deep brain stimulation might benefit those with severe alcoholism, preliminary studies show
August 14, 2018 - Study finds increased rate of repeat pregnancies in women with intellectual and developmental disabilities
August 14, 2018 - Lighter sedation fails to reduce risk of postoperative delirium in older patients
August 13, 2018 - Asking better questions about person’s memory could improve doctors’ understanding of patients
August 13, 2018 - U.S. Trauma Doctors Push for Stricter Gun Controls
August 13, 2018 - Asthma and flu: a double whammy
August 13, 2018 - 5 Questions: Donna Zulman on engaging high-need patients in intensive outpatient programs | News Center
August 13, 2018 - Behavioral Nudges Lead to Drop in Prescriptions of Potent Antipsychotic
August 13, 2018 - Potential New Class of Drugs May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk by Targeting Gut Microbes
August 13, 2018 - How to get your kids to eat better
August 13, 2018 - The importance of hearing your patients
August 13, 2018 - Transmission of F. tularensis unlikely to happen through the food chain
August 13, 2018 - Researchers discover epigenetic mechanism underlying ischemic cardiomyopathy
August 13, 2018 - Adolescent health programs receive only a tiny share of international aid, finds research
August 13, 2018 - Fracture risk increases by 30% after gastric bypass, study shows
August 13, 2018 - Quality-improvement project to standardize feeding practices helps micro preemies gain weight
August 13, 2018 - Long-term cannabinoid exposure impairs memory, study shows
August 13, 2018 - New intervention to reduce risk of HIV in young transgender women
August 13, 2018 - Japan human trial tests iPS cell treatment for Parkinson’s
August 13, 2018 - Altered nitrogen metabolism may contribute to emergence of new cancer mutations
August 13, 2018 - Cycling provides greatest health benefits, study finds
August 13, 2018 - Scientists discover biomarker for kidney cancer
August 13, 2018 - New test predicts the risk of serious disease before symptoms appear
August 13, 2018 - Cianna Medical receives FDA 510(k) clearance to extend indication of SCOUT reflector for use in soft tissue localization
August 13, 2018 - Ground-breaking discovery offers new hope for treatment of Alzheimer’s, other neurological diseases
August 13, 2018 - Medical nutrition therapy provided by RDNs benefits patients with chronic kidney disease
August 13, 2018 - Prenatal Tdap vaccination not linked with increased risk of autism in children, study shows
August 13, 2018 - One-Third of Canadian Patients Get Hip Fx Repair Within 24 Hours
August 13, 2018 - ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
August 13, 2018 - Traffic jams in the brain
August 13, 2018 - NIH awards $6.5 million to establish multi-institution biomedical technology resource center
August 13, 2018 - New marker in the blood could help predict person’s risk of developing kidney cancer
August 13, 2018 - New biomarker may provide clues to create diagnostic tool for hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure
August 13, 2018 - Oxidative Stress Hampers Blood Vessel Dilation in Men
Experts explain why lead found in fidget spinners is no idle threat

Experts explain why lead found in fidget spinners is no idle threat

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

That fidget spinner your kid can’t put down? It turns out it may be putting children at risk for lead exposure.

That’s according to a report out Thursday from a consumer advocacy group, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

The organization tested the toys — which represent the latest iteration of a long line of skill-based amusements that include yo-yos and spinning tops — for lead.

At least two of about 12 models — products called Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass and Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Metal — were found to contain levels of lead that are unsafe for children, said Dev Gowda, a PIRG public health advocate who co-authored the report.

U.S. PIRG found the devices to have lead on their surface level and the layer immediately beneath.

Preventing lead exposure, especially for young children, is considered a public health imperative. It can impair brain development, especially in younger children, and have lifelong consequences.

Flint, Mich., for instance, made national headlines when lead was discovered in its public water system. The problem is also often associated with paint in old buildings.

Could a kid’s toy really be the next culprit?

Bulls i Toy, which makes the two models, said in a letter to U.S. PIRG that the spinners are marketed toward people 14 and up, and therefore exempt from federal regulations about lead in toys. Target, which sells them, has no plans to stop. It also argued that the “14 and up” distinction makes these general-use toys, not meant for kids.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which comes up with safety standards for consumer products, also treats fidget spinners as “general use,” unless the company has specified they are for kids 12 and under. Children’s toys, unlike general use ones, are held to tougher lead-level standards.

Consumer advocates are disputing that “general use” classification.

In the meantime, though, consumers need answers. How big a problem is this? Should parents be worried about kids who have fidget spinners? Should the toys be scratched off Christmas lists?

Kaiser Health News spoke with two lead experts: Jerome Paulson, an emeritus professor and pediatrician at George Washington University, and Ellen Silbergeld, environmental health professor at Johns Hopkins University. It turns out the answers are not necessarily clear or easy.

Q: There are countless brands of fidget spinners out there, and we’re just hearing about two of them. Is this a serious concern?

Paulson: Is this one batch? Is this 10 million fidget spinners? I don’t know. Just touching them with kids’ hands is not going to be an issue. That doesn’t go through the skin. But if this lead is on the surface of the fidget spinner, and therefore gets on the fingers of the kids, and the kids put the fingers in the mouth or put the toys in their mouth — then, clearly, there is a pathway of exposure, and they shouldn’t be in the hands of the kids.

It’s just impossible to know — I certainly would not go running every kid who’s got a fidget spinner to the doctor until we’ve got a better sense of how widespread this issue is.

Silbergeld: This is indeed a hazard that is of considerable concern. If this [lead] were buried inside, it would not rise to the level of concern. But given that it is, in fact, a layer — a coating — then, of course, it’s right there.

My sense would be just to avoid fidget spinners altogether [until the CPSC tests them for lead]. I think that would be a prudent thing to do.

Q: Say I have a child who wants a fidget spinner. Would this put him or her at risk?

Paulson: There is no lead level that is safe, so we don’t want kids exposed to lead at any level. We’re more concerned about younger kids, because their brains are less finished, if you will. I understand these are ostensibly made for older kids … but that’s a distinction without a difference. The manufacturer and the sellers are fooling themselves if they think these won’t get into the hands of younger kids.

Lead is toxic for adults, too. If you’re one of the adults who chews on your pen, don’t chew on your fidget spinner. You could be lead-poisoned, just like your kid could be.

Silbergeld: It would probably be important to talk about the age of the child and what is the experience of the child. Do they put things in their mouth or not?

I’m going to make a recommendation because I think it has a generally good basis for it, and I would say people should get their children tested for lead.

If you haven’t had your child tested for lead at any point, this is a good time to start.

Q: What should I do if my child already has one of these? Throw it away?

Paulson: I don’t think I’d be very concerned. If parents want to check, there are these lead check kits that can be purchased at stores like Home Depot. They will reveal if there are high levels of lead on the surface of a toy. If it’s a hazard, it should be taken back and handled as hazardous waste — not just thrown in the garbage.

Silbergeld: If there is a determination that lead is present in this object in a way that it could result in exposure, then if parents have these things, they should throw them away.

If there is a determination that lead is present in this object in a way that it could result in exposure, then if parents have these things, they should throw them away. … This is quite wise and not hysterical, and is the sort of thing that makes the industry go crazy.

This is why we have these bans on toys. … This is not an unknown message.

Q: What about other toys? Is this a widespread problem?

Paulson: Every once in a while, this [issue of lead in toys] rears its ugly head again. Sometimes it’s manufacturers not paying attention to regulations they need to. It sounds like they’re paying attention to a regulation — but when you think about it, it’s not protecting the kid. You can say this is for kids 14 and older, not 6, and therefore doesn’t need to comply. But the reality is, we know younger kids are going to get exposed to it.

Silbergeld: Your best bet is to buy toys made in the United States because, frankly … American toy manufacturers are totally understanding of and compliant with making products that do not contain lead.

We can’t be totally confident in anything. But I think parents would be advised to get toys that are made in America.

KHN’s coverage of children’s health care issues is supported in part by a grant from The Heising-Simons Foundation.


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles