When you heard about the latest product recall from a big-box retailer -- this time, it's 12 million drinking glasses used to market the "final" Shrek film sold at McDonald's -- you probably weren't surprised, especially if you're a parent or grandparent. The culprit is a familiar one…
Trace amounts of cadmium, the 48th element of the Periodic Table and a known carcinogen, have been showing up lately, not only coating Shrek glasses, but in Chinese-made children's products that have found their way to the shelves of big-box retailers in America, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). One bit of good news: Cadmium levels measured in those Shrek glasses were much lower than those detected in some children's jewelry -- think trinkets promoting Hannah Montana's alter-ego Miley Cyrus and The Princess and the Frog movie.
In fact, much of this recent attention paid by the CPSC was likely triggered by an Associated Press investigation that discovered 12 percent of the children's pendants and bracelets scientists tested contained at least 10 percent cadmium. And, the most contaminated piece was composed of 91 percent cadmium by weight.
So, if cadmium is a carcinogen used primarily in the making of batteries, why is it being found in other places? Chinese manufacturers may be substituting harmful heavy metals like cadmium, barium and antimony in place of lead, to achieve specific pigments, according to CPSC.
More recently, we warned you about excessive amounts of lead and cadmium also showing up in the darndest places, like St. John's wort, just another reason for you to do your homework when it concerns taking a supplement.
Image source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Christian Science Monitor June 10, 2010
Huffington Post June 4, 2010
New York Times June 9, 2010