Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is finding itself under the microscope after the PIRG found that fidget spinners it sold contained high levels of lead. The center of the metal version of the same spinner tested for 1,300 ppm of lead.
"The two fidget spinners cited are clearly marked on the package as 'appropriate for customers ages 14 and older, ' and are not marketed to children", a Target spokesman said to the Washington Post.
The CDC says there is no such thing as a safe level of lead in the bloodstream, and that lead poisoning in children can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems such as ADHD and criminal behavior, and hearing and speech problems.
"Even small amounts of lead in toys can be ingested when transferred from fingers to mouth or from fingers to food", said national lead expert Helen Binns, MD, pediatrician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Lead exposure can be extremely unsafe for children, potentially impacting mental development among other risks.
According to the company, the items manufactured by "Bulls I Toys" are labeled "ages 14 and up" and do not require lead testing.
The advocacy group says it has notified the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal body, of the high lead levels.
Target argues that the products do not have to follow the 100 ppm limit due because of they are not toys intended for children.
"Saying fidget spinners aren't toys defies common sense, as millions of parents whose kids play with spinners can tell you", said Kara Cook-Schultz of the research group, in a statement.
U.S PIRG said it's still calling on the retailer to pull the products from store shelves.