Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Nearly 53,000 Nerf Hasbro Super Soaker toy water guns [sold exclusively at Target] have been recalled for a CPSC Lead content standard violation. Here’s the link to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the standards that were violated by this toy.) The specific violation is that the ink in the sticker on the toy (with the logo markings) has unsafe levels of Lead. A link to the full recall notice is at the end of this post.
Why is there Lead in the logo markings?
Unfortunately, I have found in my research that it is very common for logo markings on otherwise “Lead-free” products to test positive for high levels of Lead. It seems like the companies put energy into ensuring that their products are Lead-safe, as far as the general manufacturing supply chain is concerned — but then let their guard down / don’t “connect the dots” when designing the specifics for their logo markings. This is true for so many glass, plastic and ceramic items I have tested (and you can find dozens of examples of this phenomenon here on my blog if you scroll through the posts with XRF test results for products).
- Here’s an example of a ceramic frying pan with Lead in the logo markings.
- Here’s an example of a metal water bottle with Lead in the logo markings.
- Here’s an example of a glass baby bottle with Lead in the logo markings.
- Here’s an example of a porcelain dish with Lead in the logo markings.
I have not yet personally tested one of these toys (using high-precision XRF analysis) — and would love the opportunity to do so (primarily because the CPSC violation notices never list the actual Lead levels in the readings of the component that is in violation of their standards and I am quite curious to know specifically how much Lead was found). If you have one of these toys (shown in the two photos above) and are interested in sending it to me for testing so I can report on the exact levels of Lead found, I would be thankful for that opportunity. Please be in touch.
“Does this mean other water gun toys are toxic, too?”
It is unlikely that other water guns (mass-produced and sold at big box stores today) have a similar problem. Modern (recent; post-2011) hard plastic toys rarely have Lead concerns anymore. Toys sold Target also rarely have Lead paint concerns. While any toys being sold with Leaded components is a big problem, this incident is actually an example of Target responding quickly and decisively (comprehensively) to the findings of Lead in one of their toys, which is why (in general) Target, in my experience, is a good vendor. If Target discovers that they have sold a toy (or other product intended for use by children) with Lead – there will usually be a recall with mainstream public news coverage to alert consumers — which is precisely how such supply chain/manufacturing slip-ups should be addressed — but tragically, this is not the case with many smaller chains and vendors!
In general, I avoid buying water guns like these – because they are plastic, and they break easily – which means they have a short life as a toy (especially in my house with four boys!) and therefore have a doubly-negative environmental impact.On the rare occasion that I do cave and buy any sort of water gun as a novelty, I stick with the small, hard plastic ones with no painted markings at all [and I also try to buy ones that are not styled/shaped like guns!]. I also always avoid buying plastic toys that are from lesser-known brands or smaller vendors, as they are less-likely to even do appropriate testing that would provide the data that would result in a recall.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions and I will do my best to answer them personally.
Below is the full text from the CPSC recall notice:
Name of product:
The decorative sticker on the water tank of the water blaster toys contain levels of lead in the ink that exceed the federal lead content ban. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.
- Remedy: Refund
- Recall date: August 19, 2020
- Units: About 52,900
- Consumer Contact: Hasbro Inc. at 888-664-3323 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ET on Fridays, or email at SuperSoakerRecall@Hasbro.com or online at https://shop.hasbro.com/en-us and click on “MORE INFO” at the bottom of the page for more information.
This recall involves the Super Soaker XP20 (E6286) which is a green and orange hand-held water blaster, and the XP 30 (E6289) which is an orange and blue hand-held water blaster. “Nerf Super Soaker” and the model number are printed on the sticker on the side of the water blaster.
Consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and contact Hasbro Inc. for instructions on how to return the product and receive a full refund. Consumers will be asked to unscrew the tank from the blaster and return the tank to the manufacturer using a postage prepaid label, for a full refund.
- Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
- Sold At: Target from March 2020 to July 2020 for about $8 (XP 20) and $13 (XP 30).
- Manufacturer(s): Hasbro, Inc., of Pawtucket, R.I.
- Importer(s): Hasbro, Inc., of Pawtucket, R.I
- Manufactured In: India
- Recall number: 20-168