Tue, Nov 23, 2010 - Page 1 News List

AP probe finds high levels of lead and cadmium in glasses

AP, LOS ANGELES

However, on Warner Brothers’ Web site, the superhero glasses are sold alongside kids’ T-shirts with similar images and a school lunch box. An online retailer, 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 firm 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.

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 kitchen cabinets, and used regularly by children and adults.

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