McDonald’s recall of 12 million Shrek glasses containing cadmium was spurred, in part, by an anonymous tip from blogger/author Jennifer Taggert who used a handheld analyzer to zap the glass and read its heavy metal content. Here’s her take on the danger in the glassware.
What’s interesting and amazing about this story is that this device, an x-ray flourescence analyzer, is just a little bigger than a video game controller and works almost instantly. There’s no reason why the responsible government agency can’t just hire a couple of people to use this tricorder to test samples of every shitty little tchotchke that a fast food restaurant hands out.
Perhaps I was the only person who imagined that testing toys for heavy metal levels was a time-consuming and expensive process. The fact that it’s so damn easy just emphasizes the slight importance placed on children’s health versus the all-important free market.
c u n d gulag
You’re missing the point!
You have to start poisoning the children early so that they can build up a tolerance for the shit that’s in our food, water and air.
I just can’t believe that sort of testing isn’t a part of McDonald’s (or whoever’s) protocol before releasing a product. Even the most thorough and expensive testing for every possible product has to be cheaper than the cost of a single recall and the resultant bad publicity.
To find out that this type of cheap and easy field testing is available makes McD’s due diligence that much more appalling, and the government’s failure egregious as well.
FAIL all around.
Though I suppose we as a nation should be thankful that McDonald’s and its product isn’t somehow responsible for a blown-out well that is releasing an uncontrollable quantity of poisonous broken glass to be washing up on the Gulf beaches…
You’d think the purchasing agent for McDonald’s or even the company itself would do this on their own, too. It’s simple self interest at work. But I guess it’s really not that simple.
BP could have avoided the mess in the Gulf through fairly simple and relatively inexpensive means if they’d chosen to employ them.
Has the quest for short term profits completely clouded the judgment of so many corporate structures that there’s no hope of a corporation doing “the right thing”?
Yes. They look only to the next quarter, they stopped thinking longer than that a long time ago. Although planning for the junk takes longer, the profit plans only cover a quarter at a time.
@CoffeeTim: Yes it has.
I think they’re still trying to rebuild all the quality control agencies that got stripped of power and personnel over the last 30 years. Unfortunately, that’s going to take a lot more time to do, than it took the administrations before this to break them down so far that they can’t keep ahead of these things anymore.
Cadmium pigments are still the standard way to get red orange and yellow, for paint.
More government interference in free enterprise? But what ever will we do if McDonalds goes Gault?
As Sam Rayburn said, “Any jackass can kick down a barn. It takes a carpenter to build one.”
What’s worse, there were two incidents this very year of cadmium presence, or even near entire composition, of children’s jewelry.
Sure. Who could imagine a piece of jewelry 90% cadmium could be a risk to children? Let the free market decide. If they develop illnesses or die prematurely, then other parents should make sure and go back in time so as not to have bought that jewelry in the first place.
In any case, I’m sure that jewelry wasn’t recalled for any danger, but because it wanted to spend more time with its family.
Poor, poor, resource limited Wal-Mart, unable to even attempt to control its poisonous metal laced children’s toys on its impoverished shelves.
Only a tyrannical madman like Hugo Chavez would dare impose upon the fee mahkit a crazy order to remove heavy toxic metal laden products from the shelves. I mean, heck, Wal-Mart has a lot of stores.
I betcha that if there was 1% of some toy line shown to be sending money to Hamas, those items would vanish off the shelves quicker than those weird subatomic particles created momentarily in an ‘atom smasher’.
No one, no one, not corporations nor potentially existent (who knows these days) federal regulators, could suggest they were unaware of this risk.
I just assumed they were from China, but it says they’re from a South Jersey company. Jesus, you mean we still make things in this country?
It’s not so much a matter of ease as it is a matter of cost. (Yes, the two are related, but what is easy for someone who knows what they are doing isn’t necessarily cheap.) Was this process expensive for Taggert? Probably not, I would think, and if you marshal the resources of the federal government, where even on a scale of billions of dollars the costs are almost certainly outweighed by the benefits, it becomes an even easier call.
But this isn’t a conversation we need to be having, because the free market will take care of it, right? How? Shut up, that’s how!*
*I’d be seriously interested in knowing the response from sane Libertarians about this stuff. I could see reaching a point where the cost of regulating and testing is outweighed by the benefits to doing so, but how else do they approach this issue? The connections to personal liberty or something are pretty tenuous.
so what you’re saying is that the glasses you drink out of at mickie d’s will kill you slightly faster than their food.
The device gives a “total heavy metals” reading (and I’m sure it misses some toxic metal compounds, especially some of the hydrated complexes). Not all heavy metals that it gives a hit for are ingestible, and not all are toxic. It should be used as a screening tool, though.
Collectively, we’ve put the onus on the company to determine the safety of their products. This works (and in the process saves us a lot of tax money and a lot of distortions to product prices), but only if whatever agencies have jurisdiction come down HARD on violators, even on those who “self-report”.
I’m a Customs broker and I get involved in issues like this. The problem is, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has very few people. In Seattle, for instance, there’s one guy. One guy to handle the thousands of containers that come in through the port. He’s looking for stuff like cadmium and lead, but he also has to look for toys that break and choke babies etc. Customs helps by looking out for these things too, but they lots of other stuff to look for.
In my new job working for an importer, I may actually get to use one of those handhelds. They cost 30 thousand dollars, but it’s worth it for a company like ours (we import everything from glasses to bobbleheads).
Considering McDonald’s reaction was
It sounds like they really didn’t care if they had cadmium in the glasses, because HEY! the rules might change in their favor again and they’d already spent money putting these things together, so why go back and fix them. Plus, once they waved the “third-party lab” findings, no one would look anyway. Due diligence, my foot.
@CoffeeTim: First rule to remember about public corporations. The idea that decisions are made “for the shareholder” is complete and utter bullshit. Your typical average buy and hold shareholder wants long-term stable profits and growth.
No, corporations are run for the benefit of top executives. That is, they’re looking to run up the short-term stock price as much as possible, to gain maximum bonuses. Nothing more, nothing less. If the corporation goes under in the next quarter..oh well. Still got this bonus, which is enough to live for quite a while on. (And it’s usually not that dire)
The solution, of course is actually to heavily tax capital gains, to encourage shareholders not to reward stock price growth, but to reward long-term dividends.
Obviously, something must be done to put a stop to independent anti-capitalist bloggers and their access to such testing devices. Can’t have that kind of power in the hands of mere citizens.
There’s cadmium in the batteries of a lot of children’s toys too – batteries kids just love to chew on.
Of course if you’re buying your kids McDonald’s food or the latest consumer cargo cult shit from Toys R Us, then a little bit of heavy metal is probably the least they have to worry about.
This makes me wonder how much of this shit I consumed out of Empire Strikes Back glasses and all the other movie souvenirs I used to get at McDonald’s when I was a kid and no one was paying attention to this issue.
Boy, if only there was a large pool of people with relevant skills and/or the will to be trained to know what to look for who were actively seeking employment.
Exactly. The free market doesn’t prevent companies from doing horrendous things. It only prevents them from doing horrendous things after they’re found out.
Unless of course, they just get better at hiding their market undesirables.
Oh, who cares about poisoned toy cups? Miley Cyrus was caught kissing another girl on a stage in London. This is a much bigger threat to the safety of children than any sort of toxic element. Isn’t that much obvious?
Yes, and “By law, no more than 75 parts per million of cadmium is supposed to be present in paint on kids toys.” some of the glasses had more than 1000 ppm.
Until corporate culture begins to look at the greater good instead of quarterly profits, regulators will always be behind.
Because Silent Spring didn’t happen in the last 30 years, nor did The Jungle. Human greed and shortcutting safety for profit are as old as the hills.
Use. A. Fucking. Straw.
Use. A. Fucking. Straw.
Ahhhh! Big Government! Soshulism! Tax and spend! Tax and spend! Why does this woman hate Amerikkka?!?!?
That would be the very little reason why the US government doesn’t hire people to verify that corporations aren’t selling poisonous shit to an unsuspecting public — the wingnuts would freak and too few reasonable people are willing to call them out on it.
I hate to journey so far back into the long-forgotten we-must-only-look-forward past, but one of Reagan’s strategy to destroy regulation was to cut the budgets and staffing of regulatory agencies down to joke levels.
So I was trying to get a price on one of these things because it would be the sweetest thing ever for an expectant parent, no? And I found a tested on ebay that was $5k, and then it was an additional $7k to order the software for the thing the company. It seemed a little out of my price range, but I think that there should be some government entity that could afford these and testing of the products. Some of what they are trying to do with CPSIA seems positively brain damaged and detrimental to people who make a small number of hand made toys. I feel that if the raw materials that go into making the toys are tested, the toys should be fine. But just have a consistent place where either the materials or final products are tested. When you have a rather long convoluted supply chain coming from overseas, you should probably test the final product in the US just so you don’t have the thing that happened to this dude happen to everyone. But if you have the source materials coming from the US, test the source material and push the testing further up the supply chain to give people an incentive for creating things here instead of somewhere else.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Dork: Someone still has to hold the glass at some point if you are going to drink out of it, and it then gets on the skin.
The next to last samurai
And if this lady had not spoken out, mcd’s would still have done the right thing because america free market blah blah blah. It is so sad that a once great nation has become a bitter joke.
What difference does some cadmium (or even lead) content in a Shrek-decorated drinking glass make when it’s destined for display-only in the fine china cabinet? Hold onto it for 50 years, and it’ll be a collector’s item worth at least dozens of dollars, just like lots of the stuff you and I both had when we were kids that seemed valuable back then only to us, so the first time our mom thought we weren’t paying attention to it, out it went in the trash. Which is why so many seemingly trivial pieces of clutter become valuable collector’s items a few decades down the line. Heck, the Shrek glasses will be more valuable 50 years from now in part *because* they’re somewhat toxic to actually use.
You’ve got be fucking kidding me.
People take these cups home and continue to use them. The condensation from the ice causes the paint to flake off and get into other things.
What is your problem? Do you really think toxic toys are acceptable? Caveat emptor or something?
I just can’t believe the level of stupid I keep encountering.
The political will isn’t there for the government to seriously regulate all consumer goods. That’s a lot of goods. Another problem with the current handheld specs is that they can only detect a few metals that they’re calibrated for. Lead and cadmium are good ones to look for, but that’s just the surface. I believe National Geographic (or even the Atlantic?) had an article discussing the development of Raman spectroscopy to detect a much more diverse array of potentially toxic compounds. That would be more cost effective and faster.
Sue? Bah! American legal lottory tries! Tort Reform! Tort Reform!
@QuaintIrene: Bizarrely enough, yes. The problem is that manufacturing productivity has been rising faster than manufacturing output, so we get more stuff from fewer people.
Of course, none of this should imply that workers should see any of the increased wealth resulting from that. That would be soshialism.
They should have just used radium instead. That green horn-head would have glowed in the dark just like my old Gene Autrey watch. How kid- cool would that be!
I bet someone could make a mint by marketing these handheld heavy metal detecting devices through infomercials and advertising directed towards Moms. Moms generally want to keep their kids safe. Just look at the woman who sent in the tip. Her blog is titled “The Smart Mama.” If they can be sold at $100 or less, a lot of people would buy them. Maybe even up to $200, but that’s probably a slightly different marketing strategy.
Just imagine, point the thing at any suspect item your kids might use, find out if it’s got heavy metals in it right away. Report any item that exceeds the recommended amount of lead, cadmium or anything else. No need to wait for some government entity to require a recall. It’s DIY safety.
I notice that both Claire’s and McDonalds used the phrase “out of an abundance of caution” to describe their recalls. Do you suppose there’s an official phrase book for corporate poisoner PR?
As a few comments in this thread have pointed out, the cost is closer $20,000 than $200.
ETA: Even if they were five bucks, no one would use them to sensibly regulate this kind of shit, though.
Polish the Guillotines
If we had a press corps that was even semi-functional, they’d be asking Obama questions like: “What is your plan to purge the regulatory agencies of anti-regulation Republican appointees?”
But we don’t, so they won’t, and I’ll just continue to admire the bag full of my kid’s Thomas the Tank Engine toys with the lead paint sitting on a shelf.
Here’s hoping an asteroid gets us before our own stupidity does us in.
ok, here is the question that has dogged me since this first appeared…
though the miley cyrus bit and the cheap jewelry things are amusing, you do have to remember, anyone can look out for child safety, welfare, and feed the children some where else…it takes visionaries like miley and kathie lee gifford to get them jobs….
now that these toys are tainted, and presumably most of them will be destroyed for fear of their being used…however, these crap things are often saved for posterity by folks who believe their retirement will be paid for by the useless crap they acquire and save, 1-2 dollar bits at a time…
that said, will we someday live in a world where their brazen unsafety, and subsequent recall makes these things rarer and more collectible? rare shit happens usually because of some convoluted bull shit back story, i grew up with exposure to antiquers enough to know that much….could this be the way the future 100k cheesy glass is made?
Yeah, they’re way too expensive as it stands now. But like anything, with advances in technology, competition, and increase in demand, the price should go down. Maybe the marketing thing for the moment should be along the lines of defibrillators or something: there’s one for every school that parents can “check out,” for a few days to test suspicious items. Or the items can be brought to the school for testing. Or, maybe it could be like those mass shredding days that some communities have. The heavy metal testing day is the first Saturday of the month, and you can bring any item for testing.
I still think there’s a great marketing opportunity there. It’s obvious that the government agencies can’t or won’t catch everything. A lot of communities would love to have access to this kind of equipment.
that phrase was harvested from the cornicopia of prevarication.
buy one and have testing parties, like candle parties, dildo parties, and the ancient tupperware parties, make it festive, find auxillary schlock to market with it, and start up a business.
I can’t speak on the test for cadmium but I can on all of the other testing requirements.
They are quite costly. Sometimes 2 or 3 thousand dollars for $5,000 worth of toys.
I’m not saying they are unnecessary. It’s just it’s not cheap nor is it easy.
Well, I was thinking about starting a business with a friend, but we were considering something entirely different. Hmm….I’ll think about it. What sort of auxiliary schlock might be a good fit?
With Tupperware or whatever, you see the items in the demonstration, then you get to buy them. With the heavy metal detector, you don’t get to take anything home. You just get to find out if your items have heavy metals.
I’m a trader. And everything we ship, everything, goes through the testing lab. This includes tests for small parts lead and all of that other stuff.
And we’ve shipped millions of dollars of junk to the U.S. and I can’t remember one single recall.
I do remember several instances of failed lab tests though.
Exactly. Because I knew someone threatening to vote for the Libertarian in the 2004 election, I went and read their platform. They promised to abolish the EPA and all such regulatory agencies because they were unnecessary. Lawsuits (according to them) were the proper way to deal with Bad Stuff that business does.
Which led me to wonder a) does a lawsuit bring you, or your kid, back to life or fix the brain damage or whatever, b) who has the resources for go against the Big Corp legal team, and c) if we get rid of all government except the military and the cops (which seems to be what Libertarians want) who’s going to run the courts that these lawsuits would be brought to?
Libertarians. Beyond ridiculous.
“You’d think the purchasing agent for McDonald’s or even the company itself would do this on their own, too.”
I guarantee they do. Sounds either like some gross incompetence, unlikely, or a crooked inspector, likely.
The mere presence of cadmium here is not the problem. It’s the risk that younger children might suck on or swallow a piece of jewelry.
The McDonald’s glassware is a different problem.
Regulation and product testing are not quite the same thing. And if the political will is not there now, the question is how do we encourage it? Simply whining about the failures of the free market does little more than score rhetorical points.
As an aside, Underwriters Laboratories (the UL on various electrical components) has been doing a pretty effective job with respect to product safety and evaluation since 1894. And it is a private organization that complies with federal OSHA standards.
Another aside: I always find it interesting that some people who yell about the need for more regulation because of all them thar toxic substances out there fiercely fight off reasonable regulation and testing for vitamins and supplements (Study Finds Supplements Contain Contaminants)
Note that that pesky little devil cadmium is one of the problem contaminants. And I really love this part:
We’re outsourcing our own poisoning. And it’s not just those evil free-market corporations that are the problem. We demand the cheapest prices possible, no questions asked, and then act all surprised when our own short-sightedness bites us in the ass.
i admit, i pulled it completely out of my ass, i haven’t a clue what sort of safety “regime” you could build around it. obvi you want repeat business products, things people will buy because you were nice enough to show them what they want, and deliver some friends who bring a few items, but really don’t they want to host their own party? have the hand held thing there to check everything?
if i get some idea what those products are, other than just paying for the person to come out to your house, i will race you to the market.
Oh, so now the intrusive federal government wants to tell us which heavy metals we can eat?
I want my country back.
I see the woman who tested these glasses offers testing services. She’ll do them in person or you can send stuff to her. She prepares a report and so forth. Maybe that’s the way to go?
Honestly, did you really need to say that? Was there something that appeared in your mind which suggested I thought the presence of cadmium in children’s jewelry was a threat because of magical incantations, or evil spirits, or bad karma?
Sometimes you might like to choose not to assume that other people are incapable of grasping the obvious.
There’s a lot of cyanide in the world, but I do understand it doesn’t harm me unless it’s in a few particular chemical forms and I ingest it or am exposed to it in other known harmful manners. I shouldn’t need you noting that I haven’t made that explicit.
If you rely on the manufacturer to do QA, you’re almost certain to get fucked some day.
All of my clients who have their stuff made by contract manufacturers either have their own QA people in the factory (and pay them well above prevailing wages in the locality to reduce the possibility that they will take bribes from the manufacturer), or use a reputable independent buying agent like Li & Fung or Conner.
she seems geared towards the vendor or producer, as far as making it consumer targeted, i would think you could dispense with some of the reporting data, but maybe model your program based on providing some sort of consumer certification…its not like the consumer can do anything but throw the offending item out, or kick up a fuss if its a mass produced product….
i’m still thinking there are other companion products that the group that would be interested in this, could be sold…maybe you sell follow-ups to test things people are buying after you test at their home. a combined location for people to stop by, as well as a go visit thing.
“If you rely on the manufacturer to do QA, you’re almost certain to get fucked some day.”
If you choose the wrong maker it’ll take about one shipment to get fucked.
And I don’t find Li and Fung to be reliable. They have been subject to several recalls.
And yes, you can have your own people or hire it done. I figure both are equally reliable. It often just takes one bribe to torpedo the whole operation.
It sure ain’t easy doing business.
I wasn’t just picking on you in particular. Other posters either fudged or misjudged on issues of actual risk.
And even here, your original statement, “Who could imagine a piece of jewelry 90% cadmium could be a risk to children?” was too broad. It’s not an equal risk to all children. It’s not a matter that you didn’t make the issue of ingestion explicit.
I use one of these things in my work. Several different portable XRF devices exist, although NITON is the big player. It is a good product, although it must be remembered that it uses X-rays to excite the test material, the results of which are analyzed to determine which elements are present. (Detected wavelengths vs. count).
Anyway, it is not to be used casually as it does emit radiation. In fact, proper storage and handling is required to get meaningful results and not zap yourself. and yes, this would be small “zaps” but we avoid any cumulative exposure.
I’m sure that the blogger who revealed all this did not just “get one” and go do testing; that is closer to a literary description of tracking down an owner of one, getting access, etc. At most, she “used” it under supervision and “got” results. Which is not meant to diminish the story, only to remove the ‘everyone should have one’ mentality that seems to have appeared in some of the comments.
Not that I read her blog, she have indeed acquired one somehow. I find that odd, but perhaps she has complied with the regulation required for such things.
Oops, change ‘not’ to ‘now.’
She seems to do this as part of her business. She offers testing services.
The linked article describes that a third party testing agency found that the cadmium levels were in compliance. Assuming that these initial tests were done properly and that the data was reported accurately, do you think it is an issue with large variance in the product? Does anyone here know how the testing procedure works?
I guess it might be a batch problem where some were contaminated and some weren’t. Does McDonalds have to test batches at various time points to satisfy safety criteria?
Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama
The handheld XRF is used by CPSC and many businesses to screen toys and other items. The CPSC uses it extensively in the ports. There are a couple of limitations however. The XRF gives readings of total (total lead, total cadmium, etc) not soluble. So, if the applicable regulatory standard is soluble and not total, the XRF can help tell you which articles may have the particularl element of concern, but you still have to do wet testing to determine soluble. Hope that makes sense.
@Brachiator: Again, your silly pedanticism isn’t even accurate. I didn’t even suggest it was an equal risk to all children. If you want to remain unjustifiably anal — after all, I wasn’t purporting to be authoring the JAMA review of specific cadmium risks, and my guess is, neither are you — note that I said “a” risk to children. Traffic is also a risk to children, but it certainly depends on lots of other factors. Again, just try to correct things which seem actually not only worth of correction but to which your corrections are applicable.
@heydave: Thanks for the careful comment. Yeah, the source itself is dangerous if radioactive isotopes are used and if not, certainly the high-voltage electronics required to excite xrays by bombarding a metal with electrons would be a hazard.
I went to the Thermo-Niton site and read the product “literature”. I couldn’t find real tech specs on line. I was interested in the detection limit for Cadmium and some info about how the calibration is done. But I did see that it uses a Ag source.
The thing is: the signals are notoriously non-linear. Or that used to be the rap on the non-handheld instruments. So if the device was calibrated to detect 75 ppm Cd, I don’t see how you could get accurate or precise readings if the conc of Cd were 10 times higher. Also different sample matrices produce different backgrounds, which have to be subtracted out. It sounds a bit Star Trek NG to me: a handheld instrument that doesn’t have to be calibrated.
But if the chemical analysis is correct, then anybody who imports stuff from countries having almost zero regulation on heavy metals should be doing their own monitoring. Because heavy metalsare everywhere and have many legitimate uses. But heavy metals in paint for toys or jewelry items small enough to go in your mouth are a real health risk, especially for kids.
@Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama: Good point. It’s only the stuff that is bio-available that need be a concern. But solubility is hard to predict.
If you ingest free Hg from a broken old style mercury thermometer, it mostly passes right through your digestive system because not very much dissolves in the gut during the hours it might be traveling through your digestive tract. But the big Hg disaster in Japan (in the 70s?) occurred when the free mercury lay in sediments for years and was converted to an organic form that was much more bio-available. The little fish-to big fish-to people concentration made things even worse.
Of course Hg is rather unusual in its chemical inertness. The Cd in the paint is probably a sulfide or a selenium variant. So it is already oxidized and thus ready to go into solution.
First, obvious thanks to Ms Taggart for clarification; yes, that is provided as a service for fee. My apologies for suggesting a cavalier approach to such testing, if in fact, that was how anyone took my comments.
We’ve looked at the performance of our device (which uses X-rays, not radioactive sources; different models) and found that a feature of perhaps most concern is that in unskilled hands, such devices compare results to a database, and can seemingly get to conclusive results that are not correct.
If one “prepares” the look-up knowledge within the device for a suitable range of anticipated materials, some of the error goes away. And then if you compare the handheld output to either chemical techniques or XRF data from an electron microscope, for example, you find the absolute truth isn’t quite absolute, in sense.
Aside from this techno-stuff, and I apologize if I’m boring anyone, these devices can be quite valuable. We have looked at kids’ toys and found lead in paint; that kind of stuff makes me angry, as it would anyone with a conscience.
I was on a project team contracted to test military barracks for lead paint, and the field screening was conducted using Niton meters. IIRC (and it’s been more than ten years) the handheld meter was not quantitative so wherever there was a hit, a sample was collected for lab analysis. I’m sure they’re far more capable today.
We still don’t seem to take this very seriously. There’s effectively a “presumption of healthiness” that benefits the manufacturers and importers. Teh magical markets will fix it.
I’ve written about this issue extensively. Here’s the thing: during the Bush administration, the Consumer Product Testing Agency was downsized (severely) and the Chairman appointed to lead it was a Bush crony with absolutely no knowledge of or experience in any field relating to the testing and safety issues of products like toys, children’s furniture, etc. In a hearing before Congress, it was revealed that the main “lab” was just a trailer containing filthy desks piled high with file folders, mountains of toys and plastic rubbish, and unfiled paperwork; this was the domain of “Bob, the Small Parts Guy”. I wish I were making this up.
During the melamine pet food adulteration scandal, I learned that only about 1% of all imported food and food ingredients are ever actually inspected. Turns out the Food and Drug Administration was also cut to ribbons under Bush II. If the lab personnel did find something with lead in it–or melamine, or prohibited antibiotics, or lethal puffer fish labeled as monkfish–they turned it back, but all the exporter had to do was relabel it and try again. Remember: they were only looking at a 1-in-100 chance of getting caught again.
Under the new public-private setup of the FDA under Bush, several of its key labs were closed, and scientists were given the choice of relocating their families and moving to the handful of “superlabs”, or, er, taking early retirement (two separate individual lab scientists wrote to me and gave me the heads-up on this; I confirmed it by searching all the hometown newspapers archives–believe it or not, virtually NONE of the mainstream, national media covered this unbelievable breach of the nation’s food security).
As you’d expect, a number of oversights, errors, and outright criminal acts occurred when the whole private-public partnership thing (between the FDA and Big Pharma) took flight with its “fast-track approval” program. Some were swept under the rug; others were covered by outlets like Mother Jones. Various scientists quit in disgust or were fired for not approving a certain drug, despite serious safety concerns (liver failure being one) Avantia and Ketek are two such drugs.
The ravaged agencies situation is yet one more enormous mess for President Obama to try to clean up, I’m afraid. I don’t envy the man, and I’m not surprised his salt-and-pepper hair is getting saltier by the day lately–pretty soon, he’s going to look more like Morgan Freeman than Morgan Freeman.
@trollhattan: We still don’t seem to take this very seriously.
I think the difficulty is that there is WAY too much we should be taking seriously. Complexity is NOT your friend. There are literally thousands of ways to screw up and only a few ways to not screw up….good old entropy.
We humans love novelty but lack almost completely the ability to imagine what might go wrong; see also BP oil “leak”, effect of kids eating tiny lithium batteries, effect of processed food on general health of population, effect of plastic bags on sea life, effect of repeal of Glass-Steagall, etc.
Then add to that all the distractions that prevent us from paying attention to the serious stuff.
And sometime soon “a hard rain is gonna fall”.
@litbrit: Thanks for this comment – evisceration of regulatory agencies seems to have been a major component of problems like this. Whocoodanode that leaving these things to the tender mercies of the pampered progeny of the privileged and their media & think tank minions could lead to this. Yay John Galt!
Heh. Read this as the name of one company. Very meta,
Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama
@heydave: To answer the questions, yes, I’m trained, yes, I’m registered in my state as required by law, etc. I’ve had my analyzer for 2 plus years now. I calibrate it as required against various standards. I follow the applicable ASTM methodology. I also understand the limitations. In this particular instance, I tested the glasses on 5/26 and passed the information along to the CPSC. The CPSC performed wet testing and other testing.