This year's must-have toy is something by the unlikely name of Zhu-Zhu Pet. It's a little semi-robotic hamster with a few different modes, and comes with a host of accessories that involve assorted tubing, running tracks etc. The hamster itself is supposed to retail for about ten dollars, but is currently being 'scalped' for an average of 30 dollars or more from the lucky few early buyers who have managed to corner the market.
Today, being a slow news day, I suppose, the focus was on "Group contends popular Zhu Zhu Pets unsafe". A group called Goodguide.com, brainchild of a professor of environmental sciences, had tested assorted models of the fluffy ones and determined through hand-held X-Ray fluorescence machine readouts, that a couple of tested Zhu Zhu Pets exceeded the permissible safety standards for antimony and tin.
The science behind these XRF devices has been challenged by other manufacturers, and research conducted on XRF results vs. conventional lab results show that the results indeed are closer to the accurate values of the total heavy metal contents, as opposed to the tests used by the manufacturers in their labs, which result in lower detected values because of 'incomplete digestion' of the samples.
Take it from me: I've read through the complete document trail, so you don't have to.
The XRF results are probably reasonably accurate for metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, total chromium. For antimony and tin, these were considered 'contaminants' in the samples used to establish the results, so there is no clear indicator of how accurate the antimony and tin readings are with respect to conventional lab examination of the same metals.
Should everyone wish to dispose of their hard-found Zhu Zhu pets, I will be happy to "take care" of them for you for a price. Please contact me at fnsatdummyemail.com. ;)
Alas for my promising plans to start a black market in peddling Mr.Squiggles, Zhu Zhu Pet extraordinaire- the fluffsters have been cleared as safe toys by the federal authorities. Apparently, the XRF method is merely OKed to be a screening test, not an actual accepted test to determine the 'soluble' amounts of heavy metals, which would be of greater concern to your kid who likes to lick and chew on toys than the 'total amounts' determined by the X ray fluorescence method.