Robot hamster maker defends popular toy as safe

Sunday, December 6, 2009

ST. LOUIS -- The maker of the robotic Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters is defending itself against claims that the must-have toy is unsafe.

A San Francisco-based consumer group called Good Guide has listed it as one of the top-selling toys with low ratings. It says it found a higher-than-allowed level of a chemical called antimony, which can cause health problems.

The group assigned the toy a rating of 5.2 on a 10-point scale.

Good Guide CEO Dara O'Rourke said in a news release that the toy industry has done a lot to improve safety, particularly with lead. But O'Rourke added some "surprisingly big-name toys are still slipping through the cracks with other toxic chemicals."

The toy's maker, St. Louis-based Cepia LLC, insists in a news release that its product is safe and has passed rigorous testing.

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