The decorative enamel on the superhero and Oz sets — made in China and purchased at a Warner Brothers Studios store in Burbank — contained between 16 percent and 30.2 percent lead. The federal limit on children's products is 0.03 percent.Chinese manufacturers have switched from one heavy metal to another, and both have dangerous repercussions for users. Lead poisoning can affect mental and intellectual development, and cadmium poisoning can cause a whole host of ailments and could lead to death in sufficient doses.
The same glasses also contained relatively high levels of the even-more-dangerous cadmium, though there are no federal limits on that toxic metal in design surfaces.
In separate testing to recreate regular handling, other glasses shed small but notable amounts of lead or cadmium from their decorations. Federal regulators have worried that toxic metals rubbing onto children's hands can get into their mouths. Among the brands on those glasses: Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Burger King and McDonald's.
The Coca-Cola Co., which had been given AP's test results last week, announced Sunday evening that after retesting it was voluntarily recalling 88,000 glasses over concerns regarding the mainly red glass in a four-glass set.
The AP testing was part of the news organization's ongoing investigation into dangerous metals in children's products and was conducted in response to a recall by McDonald's of 12 million glasses this summer because cadmium escaped from designs depicting four characters in the latest "Shrek" movie.
The New Jersey manufacturer of those glasses said in June that the products were made according to standard industry practices, which includes the routine use of cadmium to create red and similar colors. That same company, French-owned Arc International, made the glasses that Coca-Cola said it was pulling.
To assess potential problems with glass collectibles beyond the "Shrek" set, AP bought and analyzed new glasses off the shelf, and old ones from online auctions, thrift shops and a flea market. The buys were random.
The fact it was so easy to find glasses that appeal to kids and appear to violate the federal lead law suggests that contamination in glassware is wider than one McDonald's promotion.
The irony of the latest findings is that AP's original investigation in January revealed that some Chinese manufacturers were substituting cadmium for banned lead in children's jewelry; that finding eventually led to the McDonald's-Shrek recall; now, because of the new testing primarily for cadmium in other glassware, lead is back in the spotlight as well.
Monday, November 22, 2010
More Consumer Products Test Positive For Heavy Metals
The AP has been carrying out tests on various consumer products to see if they contain heavy metals that can cause illness if present in sufficient amounts. Glasses made in China that are sold by Disney and Coca Cola in support of various advertising campaigns have tested positive for cadmium.