CPSC says Zhu Zhu hamsters are safe, Good Guide apologizes

The independent product testing group that last week said one of this Christmas’ most popular toys (Zhu Zhu Pets, a mechanical hamster) may contain harmful levels of certain toxins is now backpeddling on those claims after the Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped in, deeming Zhu Zhu Pets to be safe.

The CPSC confirmed that the toys had passed safety tests and did not appear to pose a risk to children:

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed today that the popular Zhu Zhu toy is not out of compliance with the antimony or other heavy-metal limits of the new U.S. mandatory toy standard,” agency spokesman Scott Wolfson said.

“We will still do our own independent testing at CPSC. But we’re confident today and can confirm that the toy does not violate the very protective antimony standard that applies to all toys in the United States,” Wolfson said.

Good Guide sheepishly admitted that Mr. Squiggles might not be so poisonous after all:

“Since issuing our release, we have learned that the testing methodology used in the federal standards (a soluble method) is different than the methodology we used in our testing (a surface-based method),” the San Francisco group said. “Accordingly, while we accurately reported the chemical levels in the toys that we measured using our testing method, we should not have compared our results to federal standards. We regret this error.”

As you might imagine, Zhu Zhu Pets distributor Cepia LLC is not too pleased with the rumors circulating less than a month ahead of Christmas:

“They accused us falsely of having high levels of antimony and tin in Mr. Squiggles by using a methodology that is not used by any federal standards,” said Natalie Hornsby, Cepia’s vice president of marketing. “Their testing was certainly not comprehensive and certainly not at the government standard.”

Consumers remain wary about toy safety after a cluster of recalls in 2007 that included unsafe magnets and high levels of lead in toy paints.

[LA Times]