Go Go Hamsters firm insists products are safe

LONDON - The UK distributor of Go Go Hamsters, the best-selling Christmas toy, is consulting its laywers after a safety scare prompted by a US consumer reviews website, which has now clarified its tests did not use US government standards.

At the weekend Goodguide.com claimed the level of antimony, a chemical that has been linked to cancer, found in parts of the Zhu Zhu Pet Mr Squiggles toy hamster, one of four characters in the range, is above the safe level of 60 parts per million.

Character Group, the UK distributor, counter claims that independent accredited tests show the level is below 60 parts per million and that it tested the toys again yesterday with the same results.

The US manufacturer of the toys, Cepia, has also insisted the products are safe according to a BBC report published before the clarification from Good Guide.

Jon Diver, managing director of Character Group, told Brand Republic this morning that Good Guide had tested only the surface of the toy and not the whole of it.

Good Guide this morning published the clarification
about its toy testing methodology, admitting that it did not test the Go Go Hamsters using the new government standard for toy companies to determine the 'soluble' level of contaminants in a toy.

"The federal standard for antimony is 60 parts per million soluble. We found antimony between 93-106 parts per million total on the surface of the toy.

"While GoodGuide considers the presence of any antimony on the surface of a toy to be a concern, we want to clarify that we used a testing methodology to evaluate the toys that is different from the testing methodology incorporated into the federal standards."

Diver, who said press coverage of Good Guide's review has resulted in "substantial" consumer enquiries, is preparing a statement to be published at 12pm.

The statement will also be published on Character Group's website, which at the moment is not carrying any information for consumers concerned about their purchase.

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