Consumer advocacy group says Zhu Zhu hamsters contain toxic chemicals

A California consumer safety group says one of the most sought out toys this Christmas may contain unsafe levels of certain toxins.

Good Guide, a group that independently tests products for the presence of toxic chemicals, says Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters tested positive for higher than acceptably safe levels of a metal called antimony, as well as potentially unsafe levels of tin. Zhu Zhu Pets remained sold out through man outlets as early as October, and many of the trendy toys are expected to show up under trees this Christmas.

“If ingested in high enough levels [it] can lead to cancer, reproductive health, and other human health hazards,” said Dara O’Rourke, an associate professor of environmental science at U.C.-Berkeley, and co-founder of goodguide.com.

Good Guide says the Zhu Zhu stood out because of high levels of antimony.

The federal limit is 60 parts per million. But the Zhu Zhu had 93 parts per million in the fur, and 103 in the nose.

“If these toys aren’t even meeting the legal standards in the U.S. then I would say that it isn’t worth the risk for me to bring it into my household,” said O’Rourke.

Zhu Zhu Pets are manufactured in China, and distributed by a company based in St. Louis called Cepia. Cepia did not address requests for comment on the toys’ safety, and there is no recall in place for Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters.