Zhu Zhu is the latest toy in the news regarding apossible product recall for antimony. Antimony is toxic and acts similarly to arsenic. Depending on levels and exposure, people may experience irritation of eyes, irritiation of skin and if swallowed, it could result in heart and lung issues.
With respect to toys, there is xrf technology which allows companies like Midwest Laboratories to examine products instantly for antimony and 23 other elements, including lead. The cost of this analysis is $25.00 per item. Might be something to look into if you have concerns about the makeup of products you use or play with on a regular basis. This is a basic scan.
Updated – 3.54pm Central – More thorough testing is needed. – ASTM F963-07 is the method we use at Midwest Laboratories. Leaching needs to occur. The XRF Technology is being looked at by the US CPSC but it has not yet been approved.
Check out this video from CBS… It would be interesting to see how much of the antimony leaches. We perform leach testing of lots of elements, particularly lead. We have seen very high levels of leeching in lead crystal. Thorough testing needs to occur, but the X-Ray Fluorescent Testing is a good place to start.