It seems that the feeding frenzy over the McDonald's Shrek glasses just won't die. No matter that there are zero reported injuries from cadmium in consumer products - EVER - or that the medical community is basically unaware of any material risk to children from cadmium in consumer products. Yet another news report on McDonald's perpetuated the myth that the presence of cadmium on the outside of the glasses is a danger.
Let's start with a basic FACT - CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson put in WRITING that the Shrek glasses were NOT TOXIC. I have previously analyzed this remark and concluded that "not toxic" is the equivalent of "SAFE" (based on the plain English language meaning of the words). Wolfson has conceded in writing that the glasses are safe.
Now the Philadelphia Inquirer quotes Scott Wolfson raising doubts about McDonald's Shrek glasses:
"'CPSC is doing additional follow-up work in the aftermath of the recall,' Wolfson said. 'The case is not closed.'"
The CPSC is apparently investigating glasses that Wolfson himself called safe. Don't worry, Wolfson is just trying to keep everybody calm.
Apparently not content with this mess, Wolfson goes on to suggest that some parents (the really neurotic ones) may want to take special precautions with the safe glasses:
"Wolfson, the CPSC spokesman, said risk-conscious parents might want to consider using a souvenir glass simply as a souvenir. 'If a parent wanted to be as cautious as possible, they should consider not allowing their child to use it as a drinking glass — to keep it as a collectable or just allow it for adult use only,' Wolfson said."
The message here, of course, is that the glasses are NOT safe. But they are. So who are you to believe, Wolfson Number One or Wolfson Number Two? Or not believe any of the Wolfsons because they are playing some sort of game with us that none of us can understand?
The Shrek glasses manufacturer certainly seems puzzled. But he seems to be reliant on knowledge of the manufacturing process and perhaps even knows something about science, seemingly a liability these days when dealing with a know-nothing government:
"'There is nothing wrong with the manufacturing process,' Jose-Maria Aulotte, Arc’s senior vice president, said last week . . . . Aulotte said the cadmium-based pigments are made in Germany — not France, as a McDonald’s spokeswoman previously stated — and are legal 'in all countries we do business in.' He said the pigments are used in red and yellow enamels, and in combinations such as oranges and greens. Once decorated, the glasses are fired at 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, in a process called vitrification that Aulotte said locks the enamels to the glassware. 'We’re confident all Arc International products are safe for use by children and adults, and are unaware of harmful exposure related to these pigments,' he said via email . . . . Aulotte said he was puzzled why the CPSC tests suggested that routine handling could lead to cadmium exposure. 'It depends on what you do with it. But if you just carry the glass, it should not come off,' Aulotte said."
Were the CPSC a logical place with regulators who are concerned about public safety, not public neuroses or headlines, this matter would be long dead. Why couldn't Wolfson tell the Philadelphia Inquirer that the matter is closed, that he has already informed it that the glasses were safe and that the recall was voluntary at the request of McDonald's to reassure the public about its cautious approach to safety? Well, of course, that's not entirely true, as it has been widely reported that the CPSC urged this recall of safe product. What SHOULD the CPSC say? Maybe that they screwed up?
I should live so long.