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AP IMPACT: Cadmium, lead found in drinking glasses
Question of the Day
However, on Warner Brothers‘ website, the superhero glasses are sold alongside kids’ T-shirts with similar images and a school lunch box. An online retailer, http://www.retroplanet.com, describes the 10-ounce glasses as “a perfect way to serve cold drinks to your children or guests.”
The importer, Utah-based Vandor LLC, said it “markets its products to adult collectors.” The company said less than 10,000 of each set had been sold and that the products were made under contract in China.
The company said that superhero and “Oz” glasses both passed testing done for Vandor by a CPSC-accredited lab, including the same lead content test that ToyTestingLab did for AP _ a test only required of children’s products. Spokeswoman Meryl Rader did not answer when asked why a test specific to children’s products would be performed on glasses the company said were not intended for kids.
“The results were well within the legal limits” of 0.03 percent lead, Rader wrote in an e-mail. The company would not share those results.
Informed in general terms of AP’s results, CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson said that the agency would pursue action against any high-lead glasses determined to be children’s products. The agency has authority to enforce lead levels for glasses going back decades, he said.
AP’s testing showed Vandor’s Chinese manufacturer also relied on cadmium. That toxic metal comprised up to 2.5 percent of the decorative surface of the Oz and superhero glasses, nearly double the levels found in the recalled “Shrek” glasses. But the CPSC only limits how much cadmium escapes from the designs, not how much cadmium the designs contain. Even that regulation is new: The CPSC used the “Shrek” glasses to establish a standard for how much cadmium coming out of children’s glassware creates a health hazard.
Five of the glasses that AP tested, including one ordered from the online Coca-Cola store, shed at least as much cadmium as the CPSC found on the “Shrek” glasses. While those five could have been deemed a health hazard under the CPSC guidelines used for the recall, recent revisions tripled the allowable amount of cadmium and the agency may no longer consider them a problem. The agency has said its upward revision means the “Shrek” glasses did not need to be recalled.
The all-red Coke glass shed three times more cadmium than the Puss in Boots “Shrek” glass that worried federal regulators the most last summer. Coke Zero and Diet Coke glasses from the same set did not exhibit the same problem in AP tests.
In announcing that it was voluntarily recalling 22,000, four-glass sets “for quality reasons,” the company said the glass designed to look like a red can of Coca-Cola “did not meet our quality expectations. While recent tests indicated some cadmium in the decoration on the outside of the glass, the low levels detected do not pose a safety hazard or health threat.” It said the three other designs in the set _ Coke Zero, Diet Coke and Sprite _ did not cause concern.
“The Coca-Cola Company has an unwavering commitment to quality, and at times we may withdraw products from the market for quality reasons, even if there is no safety concern or legal requirement to do so,” the company said. “We apologize to our consumers for the inconvenience.”
The company said consumers who purchased the glasses from Coke’s online store will receive an automatic credit; customers who bought the glasses in retail stores will be instructed on what to do starting Nov. 30.
The glasses were “designed for the general adult population,” were manufactured in the United States and have been on the market since March, the company said. Last week, Coke said previous testing showed the glasses “complied with all relevant regulations, including with respect to cadmium.”
In all, AP scrutinized 13 new glasses and 22 old ones, including glasses sold during McDonald's promotion for a 2007 “Shrek” movie. The used glasses date from the late 1960s to 2007, mostly from promotions at major fast-food restaurants. Thousands of such collectibles are available at online auction sites; countless others are kept in American kitchen cabinets, and used regularly by children and adults.
First, AP screened them using a state-of-the-art Olympus Innov-X gun that shoots X-rays into a glass and delivers an estimate of how much lead, cadmium or various other elements are present.
The glasses were then sent to ToyTestingLab, which is accepted by the CPSC as an accredited laboratory for a range of procedures.
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