Fast food chain McDonald’s has withdrawn its latest toy offering after discovering that painted designs on its Shrek drinking glasses contained the poisonous metal, Cadmium.
The 16oz glasses, available in four designs, depicting the latest Shrek film’s main characters were selling at $2 each prior to their withdrawal by the company. McDonald’s spokesman, Bill Whitman said “We believe the Shrek glassware is safe for consumer use.” The company has nonetheless withdrawn them after minimal amounts of Cadmium were found in the paint, saying this decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
The cause of concern is that small deposits of Cadmium could leach from the paint onto a child’s hands, then entering the body should the child subsequently put an unwashed hand to his or her mouth. Mr Whitman explained: “To ensure that our customers receive safe products from us, we made the decision to stop selling [the glasses] and voluntarily recall these products, effective immediately.”
Concerns about long-term exposure to low levels of Cadmium have been expressed for some years after various scientific studies. Cadmium is not easily excreted from the body and so a build-up of toxicity is indicated where exposure is frequent. Effects can include kidney and liver damage as well as possible harm to brain functions and the nervous system and the possible onset of osteoporosis (brittle bones).
Paint is not the only risk factor for low level cadmium intake in humans. Cigarettes contain traces of cadmium and heavy smokers have been known to demonstrate signs of cadmium poisoning after some years. It is also known that certain mollusks and bi-valves are prone to ingest quantities of cadmium from their feeding environment and it is thought that a heavy shellfish diet may also contribute to long term exposure to low levels of the toxin.
McDonald’s is the market leader in fast food outlets, with more than 32,400 restaurants in more than 100 countries worldwide. About 80% of McDonald’s outlets are run by franchisees or affiliates.
The latest (and last) Shrek movie, Shrek Forever After, was released during May 2010 in the United States, Canada and Singapore and is due for release parts of Europe during June 2010 and in Australia (Jun 17), New Zealand (Jun 24), UK and Ireland (Jul 1-2) and South Africa (July 16)
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