Parents now have one more thing to worry about when it comes to protecting their children. Cadmium is a known carcinogen which has recently been found in the 16 once Shrek glasses offered at McDonald’s. Parents who have bought these glasses already are asked to either return them to the fast food change and/or stop using them in their household. With products such as the Shrek glasses, children who handle the cups can be exposed to the low levels of cadmium containing paint when a child puts his or her unwashed hand to his mouth.
A study in 2003 concluded that exposure to cadmium in woman is linked to developing breast cancer; in a upcoming study at the University of Missouri, scientists are looking to see if it could also be linked to endometrial cancer. Most cadmium exposure is the byproduct of nickel-cadmium batteries, often leaked into the environment by inadequate disposal of these batteries. In addition, certain foods, such as shellfish, kidney and liver, can have high levels of cadmium. Smoking is also another way people tend to be exposed to this chemical.
As a result of the recent McDonald’s recall of the Shrek glasses, the House of Representatives is now looking into investigating the presence of cadmium in children’s products. McDonald’s voluntarily recalled these glasses when an investigation showed that cadmium was present in the paint. However, they were cleared for release and said to meet State and Federal standards. The recall was the result of new safety standards on cadmium, which were released after Shrek glasses were sold by McDonald’s.
Cadmium is not the only concern that parents are faced with when it comes to products that children are exposed to. In fact, plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups are have been targeted by environmental groups for their unacceptable toxic properties. According to the Daily Green, PVC, Polystyrene, and Polycarbonate can all leak toxic chemicals into the various drinking water, cooking oils, and other products that are kept in these types of plastics. They suggest instead that glass, corn based and other known safe plastics should be used in an effort to protect families.
Alyssa Figueroa, “McDonald’s recall prompts House investigation of cadmium,” Christian Science Monitor, June 10, 2010
Brian Clark Howard, “3 Suspect Plastics to Avoid in Baby Bottles, Water Bottles, More,” The Daily Green, June 10, 2010
“Cadmium Investigated as a Cause of Endometrial Cancer,” EurekAlert!, June 8, 2010
Justin Pitchard, “McDonald’s pulls 12M cadmium-tainted Shrek glasses” Forbes, June 4, 2010