Government claims Zhu Zhu hamster is safe - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Government claims Zhu Zhu hamster is safe

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One of the most popular items this season is a robotic hamster called Zhu Zhu.

One consumer group claims the toy could pose a health hazard to children, but the government found the toy is actually safe.

The consumer group raised concerns over the presence of a potentially harmful heavy metal in the Zhu Zhu Hamster called Mister Squiggles.

"Good Guide" claims the toy contains a chemical called antimony, in levels exceeding government standards.

However, President of the Toy Industry Association, Carter Keithley, says the hamster has been tested and cleared for safety.

Keithley says, "Ever since February of this year, toy companies have been required by law to be sure that toys conform with the very stringent safety standards including the heavy metal antimony, before they sell their products here in the United States."

Antimony is a fire retardent which the government says should not reach more than 60 parts per million in any toy.

Good Guide says it measured 93 parts per million in the fur and 106 parts per million in the nose of the "Mister Squiggles" Zhu Zhu. 

Monday, the group said its testing method doesn't match federal testing standards and shouldn't be compared.

The makers of Zhu Zhu claimed the toy was safe all along.

The company CEO, Russ Hornsby, released a statement saying, "Being a father of children myself, I would never allow any substandard or unsafe product to hit the shelves."

Industry officials add that recently passed laws make it very tough for substandard toys to hit U.S shelves.

Keithley says, "The standards were developed over a series of years and have just been made federal law and companies have to abide by them."

Recalls in 2007 sparked fears about toy-making standards, which led to more stringent testing measures. Millions of toys were recalled that year because of unsafe levels of lead or other safety hazards.

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