Do Fidget Spinners Really Contain Toxic Amounts of Lead?
Fidget spinners are some of the hottest toys on the market. But are they harmful? You may have seen an article regarding independent lead poisoning prevention advocate, Tamara Rubin.
In a video that went viral, Rubin claimed that some of the fidget spinners she tested with an XRF instrument tested positive for high amounts of lead and mercury.
*Cue internet pandemonium*
I shared an article to Find Your Mom Tribe’s Facebook fan page, encouraging my readers to research this further.
After watching the videos myself, I had so many questions.
Are fidget spinners really dangerous? What brands did she test? Where were they purchased? Are our kids really in danger?
So, I decided to test some for myself.
XRF instruments are the most reliable way to test for lead, but they cost around $500 to rent. That’s a tad bit outside my budget, so I purchased a few 3M Instant Lead Check kits instead.
I also purchased two fidget spinners. One from Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and the other (a glow-in-the-dark spinner) from Five Below.
The first fidget spinner I tested was the red one from Ollie’s.
I used one lead tester to test the metal part of the spinner. I swabbed the area for 30 seconds. If lead was present, the tip of the swab would have been pink or red.
The result? Black.
I’m guessing that the black was transfer from the metal. I’m no expert here, but it wasn’t red, so I’m assuming it was negative for lead. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.)
With the second lead tester, I tested the plastic portion of the fidget spinner. I swabbed the plastic part in the middle, where you would hold it.
Thirty seconds later, the swab was yellow. No lead.
I repeated both tests on the second, glow-in-the-dark spinner I purchased from Five Below. I got the same exact results as the first round.
The metal portion tested black, and the plastic portion tested yellow. No lead.
Watch it happen
If you’d like to watch me test these fidget spinners, here’s a video. Disclaimer: I’m not a YouTube professional or anything remotely close to it! In fact, I’ve never made a video like this before, so I’m definitely on a learning curve!
What does this mean? Are fidget spinners safe?
Obviously my little study has many limitations.
First of all, an XRF instrument would be much more reliable than the 3M test. If you have one, please, by all means use it to see if your spinners are safe!
Second, the 3M test only tested for lead, not mercury. Is there mercury in fidget spinners? I don’t know.
Third, I only tested two fidget spinners. There are a ton on the market.It would be impossible for me to test all of them.
So what should I do?
I am not saying all fidget spinners are safe. Should you let your kids play with fidget spinners? That’s totally up to you.
Personally, I’m not going to allow my kids to play with them. If there’s even a remote chance that there could be lead or mercury, I’ll pass.
If you decide to allow your kids to play with fidget spinners, here are a few things you can do.
- Test your kids’ spinner for lead. You can purchase a 3M Lead Check on Amazon here, or find them at Lowe’s or Home Depot in the paint section.
- Do not allow your child to put the fidget spinner in their mouth.
- Only allow them to play with spinners under adult supervision.
- Have your kids wash their hands after they are finished playing with the spinners.
Signs of lead poisoning
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include:
- Developmental delay
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Hearing loss
- Eating non-food items (pica)
I’m sure this goes without saying, but if you suspect your child may have been lead poisoned, please talk to your doctor.
What do you think of all the fidget spinner hype? Will you allow your kids to play with them?