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McDonald's, Cadmium, and Thermo Electron Niton Guns 206

Posted by timothy
from the got-one-on-my-swiss-army-knife dept.
An anonymous reader writes, snipping from a story at NPR: "'How did the Consumer Products Safety Commission find out that cadmium, a toxic metal, was present on millions of Shrek drinking glasses now being recalled by McDonald's? Well, an anonymous person with access to some pretty slick testing equipment tipped off Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) about the problem. Her office confirmed that somebody using a Thermo Electron Niton XRF testing gun found a lot of cadmium, sometimes used in yellow pigments, on the surface of the glasses. The source overnighted glasses to Speier's office last week, which then turned over the test results and specimens to the CPSC. ... By law, no more than 75 parts per million of cadmium is supposed to be present in paint on kids toys. Speier's office said the amount found on the glasses was quite a bit higher than that.' Seems like the answer to a previous question about at-home science — this blogger seems to have been one of the anonymous sources."
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McDonald's, Cadmium, and Thermo Electron Niton Guns

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  • I'm betting (Score:1, Informative)

    by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:08PM (#32465068)

    The glasses were made in China.

  • Re:I'm betting (Score:5, Informative)

    by SomeJoel (1061138) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:10PM (#32465090)

    The glasses were made in China.

    I'd take that bet. Because they were made in New Jersey. (ARC International, based in Millville, N.J.)

  • Re:I'm betting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Itninja (937614) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:17PM (#32465156) Homepage
    Only the North American subsidiary is based in NJ. The company is based in France. From 2.5 seconds of fact-finding:

    Arc International employs 12,200 people worldwide including 8000 in France. The group, whose head office is located in Arques, in the French Pas-de-Calais region...

    But you are correct that the glasses were manufactured in NJ.
  • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:27PM (#32465274)

    A two trillion dollar budget, and still they miss this.

    It used to be that public safety was the number one purpose and concern of the government. I guess poisoning children is less important now than making sure those with political power get bailed out. Children don't vote, after all. Well, except maybe in Chicago.

    They probably missed it because it isn't above any established standard. The glasses were voluntarily recalled because a tougher standard may be pending. CNN [cnn.com] has a poorly edited story about it.

  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:46PM (#32465442)
    I sometimes use it to analyze soil samples in the field. Since you aren't necessarily shooting a homogeneous substance, you sometimes get results that don't reflect the overall concentration. To get meaningful data you have to send it to a fixed lab where they will extract it and get an analytical result that is more likely to reflect the real concentration.
  • Re:Home Labs? (Score:3, Informative)

    by functor0 (89014) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:02PM (#32465602)

    Well, the "Smart Mama" (Jennifer Taggert) is someone that actually makes money through her XRF gun. According to the site below, she charges $5 per test or $100 per hour.

    http://www.thesmartmama.com/xrf-testing/

    Here's a media article where two families paid her to test their toys:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/25/AR2009122501674.html

  • by Penicillus (755795) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:37PM (#32465814)

    I sometimes use it to analyze soil samples in the field. Since you aren't necessarily shooting a homogeneous substance, you sometimes get results that don't reflect the overall concentration. To get meaningful data you have to send it to a fixed lab where they will extract it and get an analytical result that is more likely to reflect the real concentration.

    Actually, XRFs are commonly used by industrial hygienists to determine concentrations of lead (Pb) in lead paint. In fact, the new renovation, repair and paint (RRP) law that went into effect on April 22 assumes lead is in paint on homes built before 1981, unless the paint is measured to be less than 0.5% lead. The best way to do so (per EPA) is to use an XRF to determine whether lead is present or not, and what its concentration is. Alternatively, paint chips can be analyzed for lead in a laboratory; however, one can obtain 200-300 measurements for lead in a building with an XRF, whereas one may take 10-20 paint chip samples in the same time. What I'm guessing happened is than an IH used an XRF on a glass that his/her kid brought home from McDonalds and found some aberrant spectra - the IH took those readings further, and found the spectra matched cadmium. He/She then sent the glass with the readings to the Congresswoman. Given that cadmium has been substituted for lead in kid's toys, etc. (which was prohibited by law), and cadmium is considerably more toxic than lead, the Congresswoman had the glass tested, and the recall began.

  • Re:I'm betting (Score:4, Informative)

    by troll8901 (1397145) * <troll8901@gmail.com> on Saturday June 05, 2010 @01:44AM (#32467130) Journal

    ... so she flew to Malaysia (which she was going to do anyway) and got it done for ten bucks (our money)... Those things were obviously invented to trick smart people like her out of their savings.

    Trick smart people? Huh?

    According to this journal entry [nih.gov] written in 2007, the Malaysian government subsidised 98% of healthcare bills. It costed US$0.30 for an entire outpatient visit in a government clinic. I presume similar rates applied to dental treatment as well.

  • Re:I'm betting (Score:3, Informative)

    by wirehead_rick (308391) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:52AM (#32468960)

    "I swear if I ever win the lotto I'm gonna open a chain of restaurants"

    like this?: http://www.heartattackgrill.com/ [heartattackgrill.com]

  • by Z34107 (925136) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:49PM (#32472970)

    A government cannot get "unlimited funding through inflation." Our government can run budget deficits because people will keep loaning us money - i.e., buying Treasury securities. Post-WWII Germany, Zimbabwe, Argentina, and a bunch of other countries serve as good examples of why a government's budget is not helped by running the presses.

    If fiat currencies suck because of inflation, representative currencies suck because of deflation. With representative currency there is by definition a fixed amount in circulation, but that does nothing to stop the never-ending rise in demand for currency. Higher demand with a fixed supply of currency causes deflation.

    Deflation sucks almost as much as inflation because it hurts those who borrow money. If you owe someone $1000 and the currency appreciates, you now have to pay back $2000 in constant dollars.

    You don't get rid of inflation by using a representative currency; instead, you get negative inflation. Except that you now have no mechanism for controlling inflation.

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