With McDonald's recall, state cadmium ban looking timely

Been trying to get around for weeks to writing more about the recently passed legislative ban on the sale of children's jewelry containing cadmium, a heavy metal linked to negative health effects in children.

The bill was proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, and squeaked through the House of Representatives in the final minute of the legislative session that ended last month.

The bill, H.B. 5314, was signed Friday afternoon, a little over one day after the recall was first announced, by Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

"I want to keep Connecticut at the forefront of chemical policy reforms," Rell said in a press release. "This law builds on our successes in phasing out toxic chemicals from children's products – products like lead and Bisphenol-A."

A proposed change to delay the full implementation of last year's ban on Bisphenol-A in packaging for food and formula for children almost scuttled the cadmium bill on the session's final day. But after the proposed alteration of the BPA ban was stripped out of the bill in the state Senate at the urging of Republican Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, Urban and Democratic leaders were able to get the altered version of the bill banning cadmium - and leaving existing ban on BPA in place - through a unanimous House of Representatives just before the final gavel came down.

The legislation was fiercely opposed by advocates for children's toy manufacturers, but it's looking prescient this morning.

That's because McDonald's just announced it will recall 12 million glasses adorned with the image of the cartoon character Shrek. The illustration painted on the glasses contains cadmium, the company says.

Here's what OSHA and the Department of Health and Human Services think of cadmium's health effects:

"Cadmium and cadmium compounds are known to be human carcinogens based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, including epidemiological and mechanistic information that indicate a causal relationship between exposure to cadmium and cadmium compounds and human cancer."

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