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McDonalds Recalls Shrek Drinking Glasses Thanks to an Anonymous Tip

By KJ Dell'Antonia |

This falls into the category of “they really should have known better.” McDonald’s is recalling some 12 million drinking glasses sold to promote the movie Shrek Forever After because cadmium has been found in the painted design of the movie characters on the outside of the glass. Who tests these things, and why, again, would McDonald’s not bother to do it themselves, say, before selling 12 million of them? More importantly, if this has been your kids’ go-to obsession drinking glass for the few weeks they’ve been out there, should you worry? McDonald’s (not surprisingly), says not, and the Consumer Products Safety Commission rather tentatively agrees.

Cadmium is a carcinogen, and long-term exposure to it has been linked with bone softening and carcinogen. You’ve heard of it before, of course–it’s the reason all that kids’ jewelry was recalled in January. The CPSC says there’s far less cadmium in the glasses than in the jewelry.  ”McDonald’s is asking comsumers to immediately stop using the glasses out of an abundance of caution.” Certainly the amount of cadmium (used to create reds and yellows in paint and metal) colored onto the surface of the glass can’t be that much, and at least it’s on the outside of the glass. Until the jewelry incident, warnings about cadmium centered on industrial workers who worked with the substance; it’s most dangerous if breathed, less so if swallowed (according to a helpful pamphlet on the topic from the state of New Jersey). No injuries from the jewelry, or, as yet, the glasses, have been reported.

So, who nailed McDonald’s on this one? Not the CPSC, and certainly not McDonald’s dubious quality control people themselves. The D.C. office of California Congresswoman Jackie Speier says it received an anonymous tip that an X-ray gun revealed the metal in the paint, and the office passed the information along to the CPSC. That’s it, apparently: product safety evaluations of items marketed to kids are carefully considered for their safety by…anonymous people with X-ray guns. With a system like that, how can we go wrong?

McDonald’s, as of this writing, hasn’t yet dealt–a visit to their website revealed no mention of the issue, and the site they gave the CPSC to include on its recall notice for consumers seeking more information doesn’t yet exist. (It’s We can, no doubt, expect a response from their PR and legal teams sometime today.

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About KJ Dell'Antonia


KJ Dell'Antonia

KJ Dell'Antonia is a regular contributor to Slate's DoubleX, a contributing editor for Kiwi Magazine and the co-author of Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos. She lives in New Hampshire with four kids, two dogs, one husband and a bad coffee habit and blogs about family bonds, balance, and blend at

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9 thoughts on “McDonalds Recalls Shrek Drinking Glasses Thanks to an Anonymous Tip

  1. Vicky says:

    McDonald’s did glasses in the past. I have some. Is there any problems with them? The paint on the outside looks the same.

  2. KJ Dell'Antonia says:

    Good question–unless you have an X-ray gun, you’re stuck with McDonald’s answer to the question at the moment. Call their “hotline” at (800) 244-6227 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday. That said, if I were you, I’d assume they used the same manufacturers, and toss the glasses. More cadmium for the landfills…

  3. PlumbLucky says:

    I suspect that I’m going to continue NOT using the (ancient) McD’s glasses that I have – Star Wars and the Smurfs – and leave them in the china cabinet where they live :-S
    Seriously – what in the hades has happened to QC????

  4. Cylan says:

    Yikes. We had the old Shrek glasses to…the last one actually just broke last week. But thats scarey!

  5. Maureen says:

    I actually considered buying a couple of the glasses because I remembered similar ones from my childhood. Glad I decided we didn’t really need any additional drinking glasses.

  6. christine casel says:

    C omments iwonder if u have been using these cups if u would have a legitimate law suit?does anyone know?

  7. [...] McDonald’s recalled their Shrek Forever After glasses after dangerous amounts of cadmium were found on them. Ever wonder why cadmium is so dangerous? It’s carcinogenic, and can cause kidney disease and softening of the bone. Yahoo! News has more. [...]

  8. [...] McDonald’s recalled the glasses on Friday after the Consumer Product Safety Commission found cadmium in the paint. The commission said, however, that the glasses were not considered toxic and that the risk to children was low. In fact, the level of cadmium in the glasses was significantly lower than the level in some children’s jewelry that prompted three recalls earlier this year, including the recall of 55,000 necklaces sold at Wal-Mart, according to Dow-Jones Newswire. [...]

  9. [...] news comes on the heels of rival fast food restaurant McDonald’s recalling 12 million “Shrek” drinking glasses after they were found to have [...]

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