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McDonald’s Corp. is recalling 12 million Shrek themed glasses because testing after an anonymous tip found the heavy metal cadmium in the designs on the glass.

The glasses being recalled are “Shrek Forever After 3D” collectable 16 ounce drinking glasses that came in four designs, Shrek, Fiona, Puss n’ Boots, and Donkey. Manufactured for McDonald’s by ARC International, of Millville, NJ, the fast food giant sold the glasses at its restaurants nationwide from May 2010 into June 2010 for about $2.

California Congresswoman Jackie Speier received an anonymous tip that high levels of cadmium were detected in “Shrek” glasses being sold by McDonald’s. Speier contacted Inez Tenenbaum, chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety commission (CPSC), who agreed to expedite testing of the glasses. Speier’s office also confirmed with other sources that cadmium was found in glasses distributed in California, Ohio and Massachusetts.

Cadmium is a heavy metal used in consumer products such as batteries, pigments and coatings/platings. It is a known carcinogen and shown to cause developmental problems in small children. Long-term exposure can cause bone softening and kidney failure.

After encouragement by the CPSC, McDonald’s agreed to voluntarily recall the 12 million “Shrek” glasses currently in stock at their restaurants and those already sold. Consumers should stop using the glasses immediately and return them to their local McDonald’s restaurant for a refund.

“Thanks to this anonymous tip received by my office, the proper agencies were alerted, necessary action was taken by McDonald’s, and the long-term health of millions of children is no longer at risk,” Speier said in a statement.

According to McDonald’s, the company tested the glassware with an independent third-party laboratory accredited by the CPSC who found that the products were in compliance with all applicable federal and state requirements at the time of manufacture and distribution

“In light of the CPSC’s evolving assessment of standards for cadmium in consumer products, McDonald’s determined in an abundance of caution that a voluntary recall of the Shrek Forever After™ glassware is appropriate,” McDonald’s said.

The recall information on the McDonald’s website repeatedly states that, “The CPSC has said the glassware is not toxic.” However, nowhere in the CPSC release did the agency state this.

“Our children’s health should not depend on the consciences of anonymous sources. Although McDonald’s did the right thing by recalling these products, we need stronger testing standards to ensure that all children’s products are proven safe before they hit the shelves," said Speier. “Cadmium is a toxic substance that is extremely dangerous to the developmental health of children.”

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