News of Zhu Zhu Pets with levels of antimony above the current safety standard is racing across major media outlets. Evidence of the story can be found on local radio stations, MSN, Yahoo, and even the Today Show. And honestly, I can tell you from personal experience that it’s easy to get caught up in the misunderstanding, especially when a reputable organization like Good Guide says it’s so.
Here’s the basic story – The Good Guide claims that Zhu Zhu pets are hazardous because antimony was detected at 103 parts per millinon (ppm) in one of the hamster’s fur, and 90 ppm in a nose, and The Good Guide asserts that the current standard is 60 ppm.
But that is wrong. The current US standard is 60 ppm soluble antimony in paints and surface coatings used on children’s toys, not total antimony. And that is a big difference. BIG difference. Reviewing the Good Guide’s listing for the basis for its rating, it states that antimony was detected using XRF technology. This is confirmed by Good Guide’s description of the toy testing efforts, wherein it states that the toys were tested using XRF. Now, if you read this blog regularly, you’ll know a I have a Niton XRF analyzer. And here’s the thing. As much as I love my XRF analyzer, it just can’t tell you soluble. At all. It only tells you total – total lead, total antimony, total mercury, etc. So the Good Guide is comparing apples and oranges, and raising a big stink. And that is wrong.
This whole business of understanding toxic chemicals in toys is a tough gig for the average parent. I’m so grateful for consumer advocates like The Smart Mama who are willing – and very able – to explain confusing test results.
>> Take a minute to learn more about Jennifer Taggart and her qualifications to take this stand against the current misinformation here.
>> Read the entire article explaining the very important difference between soluble antimony and total antimony here.
>> UPDATE: Good Guide admitted today in a press release that they used the wrong testing method and that US standard was soluble as The Smart Mama explained. Go Jennifer!