Cadmium Found in McDonald’s Shrek Glasses

A massive recall has been issued 12 million Shrek drinking glasses sold at McDonald’s fast food restaurants across the country over concerns the glasses contain the toxic metal <"">cadmium.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen, and can interfere with brain development in very young children. Long-term exposure to cadmium can lead to bone softening and kidney failure. On the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), cadmium is an extremely toxic metal that, due to its low permissible exposure limit (PEL), enables overexposure to occur even in situations in which trace cadmium quantities are found.

According to The Associated Press (AP), the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced the recall, warning consumers to immediately stop using the toxic glasses, and McDonald’s said it would be posting Website instructions next week concerning refunds. The CPSC said it was made aware of issues with this product through the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier from California.

The CPSC said that the recalled “Shrek Forever After 3D” Collectable Drinking Glasses were manufactured in the United States by ARC International, of Millville, New Jersey and distributed by McDonald’s Corp., Oakbrook, Illinois. To date, no incidents or injuries have been reported; however, it is important to bear in mind that exposure to toxins are not always immediately recognized. The “Shrek Forever After 3D” collectable drinking glass are 16-ounce glasses that came in four designs, Shrek, Fiona, Puss n’ Boots, and Donkey and were sold for about $2 exclusively at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from May 2010 into June 2010.

The CPSC said that McDonald’s is asking consumers to immediately stop using the glasses and visit for additional instructions on how to obtain a full refund. McDonald’s can be reached toll-free at (800) 244-6227 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday or at the firm’s Website at

The AP wrote that in this case, the danger involves long-term exposure to low cadmium levels via paint leaching into the child’s hand and then reaching the body via the child’s mouth. It is the paint’s pigment—cadmium can be used to make reds and yellows—in the glasses that is cadmium tainted, said Bill Whitman, McDonald’s USA spokesman.

“A very small amount of cadmium can come to the surface of the glass, and in order to be as protective as possible of children, CPSC and McDonald’s worked together on this recall,” said CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson, quoted the AP. Wolfson did not provide information on the amounts of cadmium that leached from the glasses during tests but did state that those amounts were “slightly above the protective level currently being developed by the agency,” reported the AP. Wolfson did say that the recalled glasses contain “far less cadmium than the children’s metal jewelry that CPSC has previously recalled,” according to the AP.

The AP has been following issues concerning cadmium-tainted products and wrote that it attempted to—to no avail—purchase the recalled glasses late yesterday (prior to the recall announcement) at McDonald’s in New York, Los Angeles, and northern New Jersey but were advised the products were sold out, no longer available, or “there’ll be more tomorrow,” it wrote.

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