CPSC Issues Fidget Spinner Safety Guidance for Buyers, Businesses

Fidget spinners are pretty sweet. They were designed to help people with conditions like ADD to better concentrate, though they have turned into a huge trend in toys. However, there have been a number of incidents involving injuries caused by fidget spinners, prompting the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue a new fidget spinner safety guidance for both buyers and businesses. [1]

So far, no deaths have been reported, but a number of children have choked on pieces of the toys, including a 10-year-old girl who had to have one of the bearings from a fidget spinner surgically removed.

The commission says choking incidents have been reported in children as old as 14. Moreover, there have been 2 incidences of battery-operated fidget spinners catching on fire, and 1 incident in which a fidget spinner melted. One kid even managed to chip a tooth on a fidget spinner. [1] [2]

Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chief of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in a statement:

“As the agency investigates some reported incidents associated with this popular product, fidget spinner users or potential buyers should take some precautions. Keep them from small children; the plastic and metal spinners can break and release small pieces that can be a choking hazard; and older children should not put fidget spinners in their mouths.” [1]

Buerkle added in the statement that fidget spinners should be kept away from children under the age of 3.

On the topic of battery-operated fidget spinners, the agency says that buyers should never leave one of the toys charging unattended, never charge them overnight, and always use the charging cable the spinner came with.

To translate, treat battery-operated fidget spinners like any other battery-operated device, such a smartphone or tablet.

Buerkle said in the statement:

“If a fidget spinner is marketed and is primarily intended for children 12 years of age and younger, companies must certify that their product meets toy safety and other standards, including limits for phthalates, lead content, and lead in paint, if applicable, and the U.S Toy Standard, ASTM F963-16.”

In its business guidance, the commission said that most fidget spinners are considered general-use products, meaning they aren’t actually intended for children, and therefore don’t have to meet those standards.

Related: Here Is Why You Should Avoid Dollar Store Toys

CPSC made several additional safety tips, including this one for parents and children:

  • Regardless of your child’s age, warn them not to put any fidget spinner pieces in their mouth, and not to play with the spinner near their face. [3]

The commission also has additional safety tips for using battery-operated fidget spinners, including:

  • Always have working smoke alarms in your home.
  • If the fidget spinner you purchased did not come with its own charging cord, make sure to use one with the correct connections for charging.
  • Immediately unplug your fidget spinner once it is fully charged.

Sources:

[1] CNN

[2] The Verge

[3] U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission


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200 Scientists Want Tougher Limits on Chemicals in Personal Care Products

In June of 2017, a group of 200 scientists and medical professionals called on the international community to ratchet up restrictions on the production and use of triclosan and triclocarban – 2 antimicrobial chemicals found in shampoos and cosmetics. They cite “extensive peer-reviewed research” which suggests the ingredients are potentially harmful. [1]

In late 2016, the FDA banned 19 chemicals in hand and body soap over concerns about their effect on human health and the environment. Despite the ban, dangerous chemicals are still commonly used in other personal care products.

A senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), David Andrews said:

“Other ongoing uses are not addressed by the recent FDA action, and more needs to be done.” [2]

The group of scientists and medical professionals said in a statement published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that the chemicals, which have been used for decades, should be reserved for use only in situations where there is an “evidence-based health benefit.” [1]

They added:

“Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.”

There is evidence to suggest that triclosan and triclocarban, both endocrine-disruptors, persist in the environment, where they may harm aquatic life and other organisms. The group’s primary concern is that the chemicals’ pervasiveness may be contributing to antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance and the rise of deadly superbugs.

As endocrine-disruptors, triclosan and triclocarban can affect the hormone cycles and development of organisms. The chemicals have also been linked to increased susceptibility to allergens.

Source: Treehugger.com

The FDA regulates certain products containing triclosan, including cosmetics, toothpastes, shampoos, and soaps. But there are other products not regulated by the agency that also contain the gender-bending chemical, including clothing, credit cards, cutting boards, blankets, mattresses, bathtubs, furniture, and toys. Furthermore, there is no limit on the use of triclosan and triclocarban in household or building products. [2]

Andrews said:

“For decades, the American public has been led to believe that antimicrobial products would make us healthier and safer.” [1]

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Label These Chemicals

The group wants the chemicals to be listed on labels of all consumer products that contain them. Additionally, it wants the FDA and the EPA to restrict unnecessary use. It notes in its statement that some companies, including Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, have already begun phasing out triclosan and triclocarban. [2]

The American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council maintain that scientific evidence is on their side, and shows their products are safe and effective, and do not contribute to antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance. Both groups warn that banning or restricting the chemicals may lead to an increase in infections and disease. [1]

Studies show, however, that triclosan-containing soaps work no better than regular hand soap at killing germs.

Sources:

[1] Chicago Tribune

[2] Health Day

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