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Cepia May Have Avoided Defective Product Personal Injury Lawsuits over Zhu Zhu Hamsters

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Lexington, SCCepia electronics, the manufacturer of this year's must-have Christmas toy, Zhu Zhu Hamster, may have dodged product liability lawyers for good, as a new report from the consumer product safety commission (CPSC) has cleared the product of allegations related to poisonous materials.

Controversy first arose for Cepia when one of the company's lines of electronic hamster toys, named Mr. Squiggles, was suspected of contaning more than the allowed levels of the metal antimony, a chemical component of certain paints, rubbers and enamels.

A 2006 CPSC study claims that the metal has been shown to cause cancer in cases of overexposure.

Concerns were first raised by the consumer advocacy group GoodGuide, whose x-ray fluorescence analyzer found significant levels of antimony in the product. The CPSC, which has a different method of assessing the safety of toys, utilized a chemical solubility test which the Zhu Zhu Hamster passed.

"I have been in the toy industry for more than 35 years, and being a father of children myself, I would never allow any substandard or unsafe product to hit the shelves," says Russ Hornsby, CEO of Cepia, in an interview with the BBC. "That's why we always test to not only meet but also exceed safety standards."

Though the product has passed the solubility test, the CPSC is continuing to examine the toy for safety issues due to its immense popularity.


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