How you ask?
It has to do with two elements from the periodic table: cadmium and lead. Cadmium is a toxic heavy metal that’s bluish-white. According to osha.gov, cadmium is used in batteries, alloys, coatings (electroplating), solar cells, plastic stabilizers, and pigments. Cadmium is also used in nuclear reactors where it acts as a neutron absorber.
Lead, as parents of toddlers likely know, can cause brain damage. It’s a dull, silver metal and has been used for pipes, glazes for pottery, insecticides, hair dyes, and as an anti-knocking additive for petrol. It’s now used for car batteries, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing, weights for lifting, weight belts for diving, lead crystal glass, radiation, to store corrosive liquids, in architecture, for roofing and in stained-glass windows, according to rsc.org.
Scientists from the University of Plymouth in Britain conducted 197 tests on used glasses and tumblers—the same ones you may have purchased with painted decorations on them. What they found were two elements, cadmium and lead. Certain levels of both elements are considered toxic—which is alarming, considering people use these tumblers to drink.
When scientists took a closer look at the cases, cadmium appeared over 134 times, while lead was found over 139 times. The legal limit is set to 1,000 times less than that, according to the New York Post.
Pretty scary right?
Here’s what happens with those glasses and tumblers:
The paint will eventually begin to chip and come off as you use your tumblers. Over time, you’re actually ingesting some of that paint, which is definitely not healthy. Remember, we mentioned that the level of toxicity in these elements was 1,000 times the limit, so that’s what’s going into your body. When you expose yourself to toxins like cadmium, you raise your risk of getting diseases like bone/kidney and even lung disease, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.
Exposure to lead can also mean renal disease, high blood pressure, difficulty with memory, headaches, and can lower sperm count in males, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lead researcher Andrew Turner, Ph.D. feels those painted glasses have bigger health risks than previously thought. He suggested to the New York Post that people avoid “products where the decor is fading or deteriorating.” That includes items with decorated rims. It should be noted that children are far more susceptible to the effects of lead and cadmium, which means you should recycle and remove those items from your home immediately.
Turns out, BPA-free plastic may not be that safe an option, either.
[Source: New York Post]