Recall of Cadmium-Tainted Glasses by McDonald's Sparks Debate

"As McDonald's today took the next step in recalling 12 million Shrek drinking glasses found to contain elevated levels of cadmium, both the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission sought to tamp down concerns about the risk of the hazardous metal increasingly replacing lead in popular products.

Customers can return their glasses to McDonald's restaurants starting tomorrow and receive a $3 refund -- $1 more than the items' purchase price -- according to a notice posted on the company's website. But the returns are just the beginning of the next chapter in the cadmium debate, with the CPSC poised to set new limits on the metal even as it downplays the McDonald's recall and environmental advocates aim to use the episode to build momentum for reform of federal toxics law.

After Congress passed strict new lead-testing rules for children's products in 2008, "a number of companies in China started shifting to cadmium instead, because it wasn't subject to the regulations, and as a result, they have gone to a metal that's arguably even worse in terms of potential health effects," Environmental Defense Fund Senior Scientist Richard Denison said."

Elana Schor reports for Greenwire June 8, 2010.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010