Children's glasses and jewelery danger

Dangerous levels of chemicals in products for children

McDonalds "Shrek" glasses have recently been recalled due to high levels of cadmium. When it comes to a product that children will use we need to go above and beyond the normal safety levels. The good news is that it is a controllable recall as most everyone who purchased a glass will be readily aware of the problem.

McDonald's decision to voluntarily recall 12 million of the "Shrek" beverage glasses that contain cadmium in their colored designs could be a product-safety scare. People how have become aware of all the additives in the foods and products we use on a daily basis turn to natural foods and organically grown in an effort to avoid ingesting these poisons.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen but U.S. Federal regulators have indicated that the amount in the "Shrek" glasses exterior decoration is not a hazard. A hazard is something that increase the possibility of a negative event. It is interesting to note that the element cadmium is also found in cigarettes and leafy green vegetables.

With the concern being expressed then, of course, McDonalds has to follow the dictates of public opinion and do the recall. What about the lead in the children's jewelery?

Health Canada has been testing childrens' jewelery items with some alarming results. Almost 1/3 of the children's items tested at the government's product safety laboratory last year were found to be almost pure lead.

The testing consisted of 67 pieces that were of suspicious composition and found 39 had varying levels of lead. Most of the items tested had a limit well below the 0.6% or 600 parts per million. What is a great concern is the remaining 28 were over the legal limit.

Some 20 pieces were found to be of almost pure lead with levels ranging from 80-95%. You would find this level of lead in a vehicle's lead-acid battery. Some of the jewelery items with the high lead content included an apple-shaped pendant and a key-shaped pendant with a heart.

The highest level of lead at 95% was found in a plastic wrist band with metallic charms. This piece was labeled as being lead-free. Ten of the tested items had lead levels ranging from 60-79% and included some mood rings and a happy-face necklace. A couple of other items were made up of 43% and 19% lead. The balance of items, seven in all, had lead levels that were close to the legal limit but still over the limit.

Why is the lead jewelery such a concern? Wearing lead does not impair your health. There are dire consequences if a child sucks, swallows, chews or eats lead. A Michigan boy died in 2006 after eating a charm with parts found to be pure lead.

Health Canada has made a statement that action has been taken to remove all 39 items so that they are no longer sold in Canada. Unfortunately the federal government does not have the power to order a mandatory recall so the companies have to agree to pull the products from the market.

The report states that there has been difficulty in maintaining quality control over imported products. These products are not limited for sale just in dollar stores or bargain shops. Of the questionable products found over 33% came from dollar and discount-type stores with 57% from other retail outlets. Only 10% were tested at distributors or wholesalers.

The trend is for higher levels of lead. Prior reports showed the highest lead level in 2006 at 87% and in 2007 it was 92%. Parents, be aware of the concern when shopping for childrens' jewelery.