Sitting at #48 in the periodic table, cadmium is flashy, cheap and toxic– just like a bad boyfriend who charms his way into your life and never leaves. “C’mon baby, let’s just hang out.” Next thing you know, kidneys get lazy, lungs grow sluggish and bones get soft. If you’re lucky, it stops with short-term degeneration called cadmium blues; if not, you could die.
Cadmium preys on children who, with their low body weight, are particularly susceptible. When the US banned further use of lead in toys in 2008, Chinese manufacturers simply substituted cadmium.
With lots of well-connected political friends in the industry, cadmium continued to lurk behind the scenes until mid-2010 when 12 million cadmium-tainted Shrek glasses were recalled from McDonalds. Seems cadmium was found in the red and yellow paint. Reports revealed that a six-year -old who touches such a glass eight times in one day has been exposed to hazardous levels of the carcinogen.
Covert and evasive, cadmium has so far dodged enhanced testing and higher safety standards. Only in California has a bill made its way through the legislature requiring tough cadmium testing on childrens’ products sold in the state. Sad to say, testing doesn’t begin until 2012.