Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

McDonald's, Cadmium, and Thermo Electron Niton Guns

Comments Filter:
  • Yay science! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:07PM (#32465044)
    Science, saving the world one experiment at a time.
  • Home Labs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:14PM (#32465136) Homepage
    This isn't an argument supporting the validity of "home labs." Those handheld XRFs are about $30K. I'd love to have one in MY home lab, where the most expensive equipment is a $300 distillation kit that I had to save for six months to justify.
  • Re:I'm betting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:14PM (#32465138)
    Company located there does not mean product made there. Have you not been paying attention for the last forty years?
  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:19PM (#32465182) Homepage

    Write Jen a letter asking who the other tipster was.... Jennifer Taggart

    Why? Clearly the tipster wants to be anonymous.

  • by mooingyak (720677) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:24PM (#32465256)

    people forget that a Thermo Electron Niton XRF testing gun now comes in every Happy Meal.

    Which would really suck when my kids get annoyed that I want to play with their Happy Meal toy.

  • by hondo77 (324058) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:32PM (#32465320) Homepage

    You're right. We should expect the government to test every product made for children for sale in this country...for all known toxins...before they go on sale. Of course if it did then you'd complain about the Obama nanny state stealing your money with excessive income tax.

    What color is the sky in your world?

  • by lgw (121541) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:37PM (#32465374) Journal

    people forget that a Thermo Electron Niton XRF testing gun now comes in every Happy Meal.

    Except in Santa Clara, of course, where Happy Meal toys were outlawed with no appreciation of their scientific usefulness!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:43PM (#32465424)

    You're right. We should expect the government to test every product made for children for sale in this country...for all known toxins...before they go on sale. Of course if it did then you'd complain about the Obama nanny state stealing your money with excessive income tax.

    You'd actually probably have to test every single toy, not just each product. Manufacturers are notorious for cherry picking which samples get sent for testing and reviewing.

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

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday June 04, 2010 @07:44PM (#32465432) Journal

    The glasses were made in China.

    I'm betting you're wrong.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100604/ap_on_he_me/us_cadmium_shrek [yahoo.com]

    All the recalled jewelry was made in China. The drinking glasses are the first American-made products to be recalled.

    [U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman] Wolfson said the recalled glasses have "far less cadmium" than the recalled jewelry. He would not say how much cadmium leached from the glasses in tests, only that it was "slightly above the protective level currently being developed by the agency."

    Arc is a French company with a plant in New Jersey ; its origins as a glassmaker date to 1825. The company said that it has been making glasses for McDonald's for 15 years and that levels of cadmium used in the enamel baked into the glass were within current federal safety guidelines.

    Biagi, Arc's vice president of North American sales, said the company was surprised and confused when it got word of the recall Thursday night.

    I'm not sure why the product is being recalled based on CPSC standards that don't actually exist yet.
    I'm guessing it's because a Congresswoman got involved and everyone went into cover-your-ass mode.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:00PM (#32465568) Homepage

    ...we end up with Thermo Electron Niton XRF testing guns being illegal to possess in the US.

  • Re:Anonymous? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:02PM (#32465598) Homepage Journal

    Is McDonalds going to hire a hit man?

    No, but the tipster wants to say employed. They no doubt have a family to feed.

  • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:11PM (#32466020)
    So what do we do instead? What are the systems in place to prevent... oh none. OK. So surely there is a system in place to punish... oh, no? OK, so we leave it to the courts? OH, the CEO and officers in the company can't be held liable in any way what so ever? So then what stops them from using a profit motive to justify poisoning people? Nothing. Well alright then, lets go ahead and just move along, nothing to see here.
  • by Frequency Domain (601421) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:20PM (#32466070)

    So what do we do instead?

    We have laws that specify tolerance levels, sample occasionally, and slap them silly if they get caught - hopefully hard enough that the overwhelming majority will feel it's not worth the risk.

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

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:25PM (#32466096) Journal

    But you are correct that the glasses were manufactured in NJ.

    Just goes to show that the wonders of unregulated cutthroat profit-chasing capitalism are the same, whether in China or in US. It's just that it's easier to buy oneself out of regulation in China due to higher corruption. But there's no lack of desire to do the same on part of US companies...

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:35PM (#32466170) Journal

    You're right. We should expect the government to test every product made for children for sale in this country.

    Yes, absolutely, and I say this as a leftie who considers Obama to be a populist corporate shill. The whole point of giving the government enough powers to run a social welfare state is so that it deals with problems like this.

    for all known toxins.

    We're not talking about some rare and exotic poison here, but rather some very basic stuff. It's not the first time it happens, either.

    So, yeah, someone in the govt clearly didn't do their job while happily wasting taxpayers' money, and should be called out for that.

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

    by X0563511 (793323) on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:39PM (#32466186) Homepage Journal

    We don't know where all the components come from though. Perhaps the sand/whatever itself was contaminated, or one of the other additives. Or someone was just a dumbass and put cadmium in it for some reason.

    How far down the rabbit hole do you go though? That's the harder question to answer.

    T1 supplier: it's raw material, use it for whatever.
    T2 supplier: it's been processed somewhat. don't use it for foodstuffs etc.
    T3 supplier: here's this stuff we found cheap.
    T4 supplier: here's this stuff mixed with other stuff we found sorta cheap.
    T5 supplier: here's this glass-making stuff.
    Cup-maker: wtf, cadmium?
    -or-
    Cup-maker: herp-derp lets toss some cadmium in there

    Sure. the blame may be at the end of the chain, but it might not either. It could be anywhere along the line. Somewhere, someone made a mistake... but was it an honest one?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @09:48PM (#32466248)

    "slap them silly", by which you mean, take a small cut of the profit.

    CAPTCHA is: customs

  • require the companies to test these things instead of having the government completely involved

    Yes, because self-regulation works just ever-so-well. When Shrub changed the rules in Texas so that the companies voluntarily self-reported chemical spills the number of spills dropped by over 60 percent. He cited that as one of his great environmental success stories during the 2000 campaign.

    when they slip up make them pay dearly.

    Thirty years ago that idea might have worked, but with today's executive mobility the boss who orders tests falsified will be working for another company long before any fines are levied.
  • Re:I'm betting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anachragnome (1008495) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:18AM (#32468274)

    "But I wonder where the paint came from?"

    It doesn't fucking matter.

    If you're standing there, in the glass factory, and you've made 12 million glasses that need painted, do you even stop ask yourself if maybe the paint that you have, the stuff that was supposed to be shipped to the Dept. of Transportation for road-line painting, might not be a good choice for DRINKING glasses?

    The fools that were charged with painting the glasses, regardless of where the glasses came from, were supposed to do so with drinking-glass COMPATIBLE paint. The law is quite clear on this subject, and for good reason. Its not too hard to figure out, man. Toxic Paint + Food-related product = BAD

    What I would bet on is that this is simply another case of someone cutting corners/costs to pad their profits, at the expense of consumer safety.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer

Working...