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Cadmium causes massive recall of children’s glassware in June

It wasn’t lead, but the toxic heavy metal cadmium that sparked a giant recall of children’s toys at the beginning of June.

McDonald’s restaurants in both Canada and the United States voluntarily recalled the glasses that were part of a Shrek movie promotional campaign due to higher than acceptable amounts of cadmium in the paint adorning the glasses.

The glasses were collectibles and belonged to a set of four, prompting families with little ones to snap up as many as they could. Like lead, cadmium is particularly dangerous when it comes to children because it can affect brain, bone and kidney development as well as lead to an increase in the development of learning disabilities.

Cadmium is often used as a pigment in red or yellow paint, which is exactly the case with the McDonald’s glasses. If a child touches the paint and then puts their fingers in their mouths or puts their mouths on the painted area of the glasses, they can ingest unsafe amounts of cadmium. Cadmium is also a known carcinogen, and has already also been found in dangerous levels in children’s jewelry this year. The jewelry was made in China, but the recalled glasses were made in the United States, and testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission revealed that cadmium was easily transferred onto hands just by touching the glasses. Surprisingly, an anonymous tip led to the testing, suggesting someone knew the glasses were made with cadmium paint.

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