Posted by: Green Knight | November 23, 2010

More Lead in Kid’s Products

So now drinking glasses with superheroes and characters from the Wizard of Oz have been found to have high levels of lead in the painted figures, and also of cadmium, which is even more toxic. The glasses, of course, come from our friends in China. The recent noise about lead ink in reusable grocery bags is, to me, pretty much a non-issue, as it’s barely leachable, but greasy little hands can get this source out of the paint on drinking glasses and then on the sandwich, resulting in chronic exposure. The metals in question aren’t hazardous by skin contact, but the potential for ingestion is certainly there.

That old bugaboo, “most favored nation” trading status, and the fact that the People’s Republic is one of our biggest creditors, may be hamstringing us in terms of asking them politely not to violate their own citizens’ human rights, not to contaminate kids overseas, and not to skin animals alive for the fur industry. We really need to re-examine our relationship with the Middle Kingdom; otherwise our vacillation and weakness makes us complicit in all these issues.

What gets me is that the highest lead level, 1006 times the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s current standard of 300 parts per million for kids, is the Tin Man of Oz. Perhaps they should rename him the Lead Man. Vendors in the US are saying that the glasses are primarily bought by collectors, and so – no problem! But when they’re advertised on the same web page as kids’ t-shirts and lunch boxes with the same characters, that assertion rings a bit hollow. I get a little exasperated that every holiday season we “rediscover” that products from China are hazardous to kids due to lead, and now cadmium…cad is a REALLY bad actor, just not as common in products. Isn’t it about time we fixed this?



  1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much a fan of Chinese culture, art, and history. I used to study kung fu. I like the language (Cantonese was the main dialect where I grew up), and I’ve studied the writing and the philosopy…Lao tzu is the man! But when this sort of thing keeps going on, and endangered species are being wiped out for Chinese “medicine,” I must object. And half of that “medicine” is for supposed aphrodisiacs, in a country with a major population problem. It’s saddening to see a nation with such rich traditions sticking so tightly to ones that should’ve gone by the wayside long ago. Napoleon’s “sleeping giant” is awakening, but in a surly mood.

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