McDonald’s withdrew 12 million glasses with the image of Shrek. The material used for the drawing contains an excessive amount of cadmium. The well-known fast-food chain has urged customers not to use the glasses, which are usually sold in retail outlets for $ 2 to promote the new film. In Italy these glasses are not sold.The withdrawal was decided because the cadmium contained in the drawing could pass from the children’s hands to the mouth or could be transferred to the drink. However, we are not faced with an exceptional event. Cadmium contamination is a fairly common problem. Suffice it to say that every week the European alert system (Rasff) almost always reports the withdrawal from the market of a consignment of cutlery or other objects due to the presence of cadmium (on 27 May Poland reported the withdrawal of a consignment of glasses colors from China while on May 14 it was Finland to report the same problem for glasses imported from Romania).
It is true what we read in certain newspapers that the cadmium used to produce pigments is a carcinogenic substance capable of damaging the kidneys and is also an endocrine disruptor. “But these problems – explains Loredana Musmeci, director of the Department of Environment and Primary Prevention of the Higher Institute of Health – are detected when the person is exposed for long periods both by mouth and by inhalation, so much so that the diseases are recorded above all among workers of some sectors. In the case of glasses or other crockery the quantities of cadmium sold are generally limited and the withdrawal of the objects is done for precautionary reasons, because the legal limits are exceeded, not because there is an immediate danger “.