Posted: Sunday, March 15, 2020
Introduction: Tamara Rubin is an independent advocate for consumer goods safety, and she is also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. She uses high-precision XRF testing (a scientific method used by the Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for metallic contaminants – including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic. [bio link]
Orange silicone chewable pencil topper.
The full XRF test results of the orange Lego-style silicone chewable pencil topper by Senso Minds pictured are below (so please scroll down). Here are links to some additional reading that may be of interest, based on your interest in the test results of this item:
- Click here to see more silicone items I have tested.
- Click here to see more silicone items that I have tested that have also been positive for trace levels of Cadmium.
- Click here to see more plastic toys I have tested.
- Click here to see more costume jewelry items I have tested.
How much Cadmium is “too much” Cadmium?
The allowable amount of Cadmium (total Cadmium content as detectable with a high-precision XRF instrument) is 40 ppm max in the State of Washington [and 75 ppm max in the Country of Denmark]. With the exception of metal jewelry made for use by children (necklaces, rings, earrings) there is no United States Federal standard limiting total Cadmium content (as detectable with an XRF instrument) in other items intended for use by children.
But these are meant to be chewed —like food…
Additionally, while the limits (mentioned above) are for toys and other similar consumer goods, these Senso Minds are intended to be chewed on, and given that is the express intention and design of the product – it is my opinion that the regulatory limits set for toxicants found in products like this should be as low as (or lower than) the regulatory limits for toxicants found in foods. Generally, most metals are considered toxic in food in the 1 to 100 “parts per billion” range. There are 1000 ppb in 1 ppm – so 13 ppm = 13,000 ppb Cadmium in this chewable pencil topper sold for use by children!
“Safe by all standards”…
The amount of Cadmium found in these Senso Minds products is therefore considered to be “safe by all [current regulatory] standards” — mostly because, in my opinion, there really are not yet any relevant or appropriate standards (something that would regulate toys intended to go in the mouth to the same regulatory standards for food). That said, I personally do not think there should be ANY allowable Cadmium in items intended for use by children because Cadmium is a known carcinogen — and there is no insurmountable manufacturing or marketing consideration that can legitimately justify the use of Cadmium (or Cadmium-containing substrates or pigments) in any children’s item (especially given that many young kids often display an observably irresistible tendency to regularly stick such items in their mouth, and even frequently suck or chew on them – even items not designed to be chewed!)
To be fair, one could also argue the opposite:
One could also easily argue that even if chunks of this toy were swallowed, as silicone does chip with use [particularly if a kid is going to be chewing on it a bunch!] — which anyone familiar with owning a silicone spatula over many years will be able to attest to — any Cadmium content would not likely be as bioavailable as it might be if it were present in food.
Again, however: I am fairly certain that hypothesis [i.e. that “a kid’s chewing on a silicone block containing “low” levels of Cadmium – even with some likely small degree of possible ingestion – carries no long-term negative health risk”] hasn’t yet actually been tested in any studies — and for this blog I operate on two basic principals:
- Just because it hasn’t been studied doesn’t mean it is safe. – and –
- Parents have a right to know what’s in the stuff they give their kids, so they can make their own informed choices, regardless of whether or not some particular instance of a concern has been studied to the degree that might be necessary to determine the potential human impact of a certain thing (or type of thing) testing positive for one or more toxicants.
- And if there is a #3: If we can eliminate confirmed or potential sources of toxicants from the lives of our children, why wouldn’t we? #KnowBetterDoBetter
Stay Safe Out There!
A quick note from Tamara
Hey readers – I hope you are staying well out there with all that is going on in the world right now. I’m hanging out mostly at home with my children – and have been doing so for about 10 days now. I pulled them out of school over a week ago – just to be safe. Each of my three youngest sons have compromised immune systems (which manifests in different ways for each of them), due to having been Lead-poisoned as babies.
In between kid-wrangling I am working hard to publish literally HUNDREDS of new posts (with test results for various consumer goods I have tested over the past couple of years, but have not yet had a moment to report on!). These posts have created a backlog in my system for more than a year now – and it’s actually nice to have a *break* with some time to catch up! To make this happen as quickly as possible, I am (as with this post) simply posting the images and the test results – without a lot of additional information. [Do not worry — I will continue to update them with more information as I get caught up and begin to have the time!]
For those new to my website, please check out the menu in the header of the website for more information about how I test things (and my background, etc.) On each post you can also click on any of the keyword tabs at the top of the post to find more items in that category. Here’s the post discussing the type of testing I do, and the specific instrument I use to detect, analyze and confirm metals content, and ultimately produce the resultant data for each item reported here – link.
Please Note: Test results reported below are science-based, accurate, and replicable. Test results reported here are from tests that were done for a minimum of 60 seconds each, and repeated multiple times, to confirm the results. As with all the testing reported here on my blog, a freshly-calibrated high-precision XRF instrument testing in Consumer Goods mode was used to test the item pictured here.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts!
Test results for the orange pencil topper chew toy pictured on this post:
- Cadmium (Cd): 13 +/- 6 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 224 +/- 34 ppm
- Vanadium (V): 58 +/- 36 ppm
- Titanium (Ti): 1,176 +/- 110 ppm
- Indium (In): 21 +/- 8 ppm