(NaturalNews) The Associated Press has recently authorized testing of various children's drinking glasses that portray superhero, movie and comic book characters. These glasses bear various brands of major corporations. The testing was carried out by ToyTestingLab of Rhode Island. This latest testing is part of ongoing research into levels of lead and cadmium found in children's products. The testing found unsafe levels (up to 1,000 times the federally allowed limit) of lead in drinking glasses that portray movie and book characters. Other testing, the purpose of which was to determine the levels of heavy metal shed during regular use, found that lower but still detectable levels of lead and cadmium are shed. The AP purchased and tested both new drinking glasses and used ones from online auctions, flea markets and thrift stores.
The glasses were first tested by the Associated Press. They used an Olympus Innov-X gun to shoot X-rays into the glasses and estimate the amount of lead and cadmium present. They were then tested by ToyTestingLab for the amount of lead worn off during regular handling. Each glass was stroked 30 times with a wet wipe and the wet wipe was then tested for lead and cadmium. Although the wipe test showed lower levels of lead being removed from the glasses, there is concern that repeated washing, scouring and dishwasher use could quicken the break down of materials. Further testing included wipes wet with "artificial sweat," and under those testing conditions the amount of lead and cadmium coming off the glasses was up to four times higher than with wipes containing only water.
In 2008, Congress passed a law limiting the amount of lead in children's products to .03 percent. The tested drinking glasses were found to contain much higher levels than that. Ironically enough, manufacturers have been substituting cadmium for lead in their products. There is no federal limit on cadmium in children's products, although cadmium is a toxic, heavy metal, similar to lead. Cadmium is used to make the bright red color, found on many drinking glass decorations.
Lead is especially dangerous to children because it can cause problems with growth and development. None of the drinking glasses tested contained enough lead to cause immediate problems; however, there is a risk of long-term damage occurring from repeated exposure. Complications from lead exposure include behavior and attention problems, decreased IQ, difficulty in school, decreased growth, hearing problems and kidney issues. Other possible symptoms include headaches, anemia, aggressive behavior, constipation, difficulty sleeping, headaches and loss of previous developmental skills.
Dr. Paul Mushak, a nationally recognized toxicologist who had been an adviser to the CPSC, used computer modulated testing to determine that if half of what came off the glasses was ingested, it could raise a 5- to 6-year-old's blood lead levels an average of 4% and as high as 11%. Mushak was concerned not so much by the levels themselves, but by the fact that lead and cadmium may be stored in bones and released later in life, for example when a women hits menopause.
Cadmium is listed as number seven on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC's) 275 most hazardous substances list. It is a carcinogen that harms the kidneys and bones and interferes with normal mental development. Earlier this fall, the CPSC recommended increasing cadmium level guidelines. The previous guidelines listed the safe levels of cadmium exposure at .03mg/kg of body weight per day. They suggest raising that to .01 mg/kg of body weight per day. It is important to note that these levels are guidelines and not federally mandated standards.
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