McDonald's Recalls 12 Million Shrek Glasses Containing Cadmium

Reports are pouring in (via AP) that McDonald's is voluntarily recalling 12 million Shrek Forever After novelty drinking glasses, after it was discovered that the paint on the sides of the glasses contains the toxic chemical cadmium. Looks like McDonalds and Shrek have found yet another way to poison our children.

The 16-ounce glasses were part of a cross-promotional effort between McDonald's and Dreamworks, costing $2 each. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission discovered the cadmium and announced the recall this morning. According to one CPSC spokesman, "A very small amount of cadmium can come to the surface of the glass" and the amounts that could be absorbed through the skin were "slightly above the protective level currently being developed by the agency." In addition, the glasses have "far less cadmium than the children's metal jewelry that CPSC has previously recalled." So, it's much less poisonous than other children's toys recalled recently, which have apparently contained as much as 91% cadmium. What a relief!

The concern is that the cadmium could be absorbed by children handling the glasses, then later ingested if they put their hands inside their mouths. For those who don't know what cadmium's effects are, here are some choice symptoms from the Wikipedia entry on cadmium poisoning:

  • Flu-like symptoms, including chills, fever, and muscle aches
  • Tracheo-bronchitis, pneumonitis or pulmonary edema
  • Renal failure
  • Weakened bone density
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Obviously, the cadmium levels in the glasses probably aren't high enough to do this kind of damage, but the glasses are still a valid concern for parents. A McDonald's spokesman commented: "We believe the Shrek glassware is safe for consumer use...However, again to ensure that our customers receive safe products from us, we made the decision to stop selling them and voluntarily recall these products effective immediately."

    Seven million of the glasses have already been sold, and five million more are in stores or haven't yet been shipped. McDonald's will post instructions for the recall/refunds on its website next week Also, for those curious: the glasses were made in the USA.