Chinese drinking glasses contaminated with high doses of lead

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Drinking glasses made in China with printed movie and animation characters contain a lot of lead and other toxic substances that can affect children's IQ, a Vietnamese quality inspection agency has warned.


A recent statement by the Department of Product Quality Management at the Ministry of Science and Technology said that the Chinese glass, which is sold widely in local markets, contains more than two thousand times the lead considered safe.


The quality testing agency in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang has tested several samples of the drinking glasses sold at three supermarkets in the province. The samples showed the amount of lead exceeding permitted levels by more than 2,000 times, local news website VnExpress reported Thursday.


The Product Quality Management Department has recommended stores and supermarkets stop selling the glasses and consumers stop using them.


Officials from the department have started to check for the glasses at cities and provinces nationwide.


The warnings followed a Daily Mail report in late November last year about tests conducted by ToyTestingLab of Rhode Island over the drinking sets featuring movie characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, made in China and purchased at a Warner Brothers Studios store in Burbank, California.


The tests found that the enamel used to color the Tin Man had the highest lead levels, at 1,006 times the federal limit for children's products.


"I was extremely surprised at the levels," the Daily Mail quoted Paul Perrotti from the ToyTestingLab as saying.


Every Oz and superhero glass tested exceeded the government limit: The Lion by 827 times and Dorothy by 770 times, Wonder Woman by 533 times, Superman by 617 times, Batman by 750 times and the Green Lantern by 677 times, the report said.


The same glasses also contained relatively high levels of cadmium. That toxic metal comprised up to 2.5 percent of the decorative surface of the Oz and superhero glasses, nearly double the levels found in the recalled "Shrek" glasses.


Inhaling cadmium can be dangerous and even fatal as the chemical is considered carcinogenic and harmful to the kidney and bones.


Early last year, China-made jewelry for children also made headlines in the US and Vietnam as they were found to be laced with cadmium, a shiny metal easy to laminate, more precious than silver but not as much as gold.


A report on China Daily in 2009 revealed investigation results by authorities in Guangdong that nearly 47 percent of clothing products and one third of consumer products for children made in the province, China's export center, were unsafe because they contained the carcinogenic substance formaldehye.


Nguyen Trung Viet, head of the Solid Waste Management Department at Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said toxic substances from toys have been seen to cause different problems for children in Vietnam including external ulcers or rhinitis.


But there are more dangerous conditions affecting internal organs that only develop after 10-15 years, like stomach and intestinal ulcers, he said.


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