Target Refuses To Pull Fidget Spinners With High Lead Levels

CBS Local — Kids find fidget spinners fun and somewhat addictive. New research shows they can also be dangerous.

The popular little toys are already the subject of Consumer Product Safety Commission choking hazard warnings. Now, new research shows that some of the popular spinners sold at Target contain dangerously high levels of lead.

The US Public Interest Research Group (US PIRG) found that the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner Brass tested at 33,000 parts per million for lead, which is more than 300 times the 100 parts per million allowable for children’s toys. The lead level in another model, the Fidget Wild Premium Spinner in Metal, tested at 1,300 parts per million.

So why are they still on the shelves?

Target said their product safety team reviewed the US PIRG’s test results and decided there was no need to pull the products from its shelves or website.

“The two fidget spinners cited in their letter are clearly marked on the package as ‘appropriate for customers ages 14 and older,’ and are not marketed to children,” Target spokesman Lee Henderson said in a prepared statement. “As a result, the fidget spinners identified are not regulated as toys or children’s products and are not required to meet children’s product standards.”

Henderson added that Consumer Product Safety Commission has defined fidget spinners as “general use products,” not toys.

Kara Cook-Shultz, toxics director at US PIRG, said regardless of how the CPSC classifies them, spinners are marketed as toys for kids and sold in toy aisles.

“All fidget spinners have play value as children’s toys regardless of labeling,” said Cook-Schultz. “We can’t sit idly by while children play with these toxic toys. And, yes, they are toys.”

Target has failed to comment about why they would sell a product that could be dangerous for children or adults.

In children, lead can lead to hyperactivity, behavior problems, and learning disabilities. In adults, lead poisoning leads to brain and nervous system ailments, stomach and kidney problems, high blood pressure, and muscle problems, according to WebMD.

[H/T CBS Miami]

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Texas Cities Seeking More Help With Recovery From Hurricane Harvey

CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) – Southeast Texas officials are calling for state legislators to give communities more assistance as they continue to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

Officials from cities along the Gulf Coast expressed their need Wednesday at a legislative hearing before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Disaster Impact and Recovery.

Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan says residents are still removing debris and repairing homes. He says the community hasn’t received enough assistance from the state.

Bujan says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has been slow to distribute mobile housing units. He says many residents are living in tents, on the streets or in the sand dunes because their homes are uninhabitable and they haven’t gotten FEMA assistance.

Hurricane Harvey passed through the area with 130 mph winds more than two months ago.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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“I Had Stupidity On My Side’: Comedian Gilbert Gottfried On Career And New Documentary

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried’s first break in show business came completely by accident. The Brooklyn native was performing at Catch A Rising Star Comedy Club in New York one night and a television executive happened to be in the audience. That exec asked Gilbert to audition at MTV and the network cut up his audition tape and played it on air. Gottfried’s career exploded from that moment and features appearances on shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Cosby Show” and movies such as “Beverly Hills Cop 2” and “Aladdin.” The 62-year-old can now add documentary to that list as Gottfried is the star of director Neil Berkeley’s new film “Gilbert.”

Gottfried stopped by the CBS Local Studio in New York to discuss his storied career, the documentary and his proudest moments.

“When I first got the idea to be in show business, I had stupidity on my side,” Gottfried told CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Back then, I was stupid and thought I could make it in show business.”

Berkeley’s documentary “Gilbert” chronicles the comedian’s life on the road performing and his life at home as a husband and father of two. The film gives viewers a personal and intimate look at who the real Gilbert is and that’s something Gottfried has never been comfortable with.

“I never wanted to make the documentary,” Gottfried said. “Neil Berkeley the filmmaker came up to me and said ‘I’ve always dreamt of making a Gilbert Gottfried documentary.‘” “I said you should set your dreams much higher than that.”

The documentary features commentary on Gottfried from comedians such as Whoopi Goldberg, Artie Lange and Bill Burr. While Gilbert’s career has been filled with many memorable moments, two moments will always stand out to him.

“When I was in the theater watching my scene in Beverly Hills Cop 2 and the theater exploded, that was a proud moment. When I did the episode of the Cosby Show, they said that was the most watched episode of a sitcom and that it broke all the records. It was amazing to be connected to that.”

“Gilbert” is out in theaters now.

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Clue, Wiffle Ball, Paper Airplane Inducted Into Toy Hall Of Fame

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) – The board game Clue. In the National Toy Hall of Fame. With the Wiffle Ball and paper airplane.

The mystery of which toys earned the status of toy superstardom was solved Thursday with the announcement of the hall of fame’s Class of 2017.

The whodunit game Clue, where players also must name the crime scene and murder weapon, continues to sell millions of copies each year since being patented by a British couple during World War II.

“Clue has also had its own movie, been featured in numerous television shows and books and remains an icon of pop culture,” said curator Nicolas Ricketts, who added the game has spun off travel, junior and advanced versions, as well as collectors and themed editions.

The annual hall of fame inductees are chosen on the advice of historians and educators following a process that begins with nominations from the public.

To make the cut, toys must have inspired creative play across generations. Historic and modern versions of the winners are displayed in the hall, which is located inside The Strong museum in Rochester, New York.

This year’s other finalists were: the game Risk, Magic 8 Ball, Matchbox cars, My Little Pony, PEZ candy dispenser, play food, sand, Transformers and the card game Uno.

Like Clue, the Wiffle Ball remains a big seller more than six decades after it was invented by a retired semi-pro baseball player in Connecticut whose son had given up on regular backyard baseball for lack of space and too many broken windows.

David Mullany began by cutting holes in round plastic parts from a factory, eventually developing a ball with eight oblong slots that allow the ball to grab air and change and slow its trajectory. A strike-out was called a “wiff,” according to the family-owned Wiffle Ball Inc., which has produced millions of balls each year ever since.

Exactly who made the first paper airplanes is unclear, though artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci gets credit for designing flying machines out of parchment in the 15th century.

“Where some toys require financial investment, paper airplanes start with a simple sheet of paper, coupled with creativity and dexterity, to produce a toy with infinite aeronautical possibilities,” said Christopher Bensch, The Strong’s vice president for collections. “They allow the imagination to take off and soar.”

The trio joins more than 60 other toys that have been inducted into the hall since its opening in 1998.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Dallas ISD Considering Earlier Start Next Year

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) – Students in the Dallas School District may have their summer cut short by a week next year.

Officials say the district is considering starting on the third Monday in August, rather than the fourth Monday. This would apply not only to the 2018-19 school year, but to the 2019-20 school year.

“Dallas ISD has moved to become a District of Innovation, so we have the option to start school earlier,” says DISD spokeswoman Robyn Harris. “It gives us a little flexibility and better balance in the semester.”

But never fear. Just because school may start a week earlier doesn’t mean it will end a week later.

“The school year won’t last any longer,” says Harris. “The start time adjustment will allow for some more professional development days. Teachers can come in earlier, prepare more, and really be ready for their students.”

Dallas ISD would also spread out its holidays, and include a week-long Thanksgiving break.

“This would also help us plan in conjunction with the Dallas County Community College district,” says Harris. “Our schedule would help make sure those students don’t have conflicting school days. They won’t have to come in early when our fiscal year hasn’t started.”

Parents and students of Dallas ISD have until tomorrow to send in any questions, concerns or feedback on this proposal. The school board will make the final decision at their December meeting.

ONLINE: Proposed calendars and to give feedback to DISD.

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TSA Screenings Fail To Spot Weapons Most Of The Time

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS NEWS) – An undercover operation has revealed that Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports fail for the most part.

Homeland Security investigators found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives, the House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday. Just two years ago, testing found a 95 percent failure rate, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave.

tsa checkpoint 127987024 TSA Screenings Fail To Spot Weapons Most Of The Time

A TSA agent waits for passengers to use the TSA PreCheck lane being implemented by the Transportation Security Administration. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The hearing was supposed to be closed but was opened to the press after members of Congress decided the findings were too urgent to be kept under wraps.

“We found that briefing disturbing,” said Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The DHS Office of Inspector General made eight classified recommendations based on the undercover operation. In a statement, the TSA said it took the “OIG findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints.”

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Gasoline Prices Both Across Texas & Nationwide Up This Week

COPPELL (AP) – Texas and nationwide retail gasoline prices are up this week.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide rose a nickel this week to reach an average $2.30 per gallon. U.S. gasoline prices overall increased 6 cents to reach an average $2.56 per gallon.

The association survey found San Antonio has the cheapest gasoline in Texas this week at an average $2.21 per gallon. Drivers in El Paso face the highest retail gasoline prices statewide at an average $2.44 per gallon.

AAA experts say consumers took advantage of the recent unseasonably warm weather, with more people spending time outdoors and causing a spike in demand for gasoline.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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