As noted, the company which imnports the sold-out toy from China, Cepia, has not issued a Zhu Zhu pets recall. The levels of antimony found in the products were 93 parts per million of Antimony in their fur. They also had 103 parts per million in their nose. The federal limit for Antimony is only 60 parts per million. Anyone with a young child can attest to the fact that almost everything enters the mouth at one time or another.
Antimony is a heavy metal. Technically, the term is misleading. Heavy metals are so classified and include all toxic metals irrespective of their atomic weight.
It is true that organisms require varying amounts of some types of heavy metals. Iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc are required by humans, but despite this, excessive amounts can be harmful. There are some heavy metals, such as mercury, plutonium, and lead, that have no known beneficial effect for organisms.
Antimony poisoning is very similar to arsenic poisoning, according to Wikipedia. In small doses, antimony causes headache, dizziness, and depression. Larger doses cause violent and frequent vomiting, and could lead to death in a few days.
However, according to ATSDR.gov, which is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, things may not be so grim.
Ingesting large doses of antimony can cause vomiting. We don't know what other effects may be caused by ingesting it. Long-term animal studies have reported liver damage and blood changes when animals ingested antimony. Antimony can irritate the skin if it is left on it.
Antimony can have beneficial effects when used for medical reasons. It has been used as a medicine to treat people infected with parasites.
Of course, there is no Zhu Zhu pets recall, and the company stands behind its toys. Perhaps the risk is all overblown. It is up to parents, given that, to determine how cautious they want to be.
Written by Michael Santo