Living Nicely: Is Cadmium Shrek's Kryptonite?

Poor Shrek! It appears he and his cohorts have fallen victim to cadmium. Am I making light of a serious subject? Maybe, but the media seems to be making a circus of this latest recall.

I have always been what some have called overprotective and overly cautious about chemicals around my children and, now, my grandchildren. Cleaning products were replaced with vinegar and baking soda. Pests were controlled with various herbs, spices and extracts. I forbid smoking in my home or vehicles. Processed foods, especially hotdogs, were kept to a minimum. So I do not take these things lightly!

According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry,      

"Cadmium is a natural element in the earth’s crust. It is usually found as a mineral combined with other elements such as oxygen (cadmium oxide), chlorine (cadmium chloride), or sulfur (cadmium sulfate, cadmium sulfide).

All soils and rocks, including coal and mineral fertilizers, contain some cadmium. Most cadmium used in the United States is extracted during the production of other metals like zinc, lead, and copper. Cadmium does not corrode easily and has many uses, including batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics."

But cadmium also occurs commonly in many foods, including shellfish and organ meats, as well as, leafy vegetables, peanuts, potatoes, grains, sunflowers seeds and soybeans. All high on the "healthy foods" list!

Most importantly though, the highest levels of exposure are attributed to cigarette smoke. For smokers and for those exposed to secondhand smoke. Particularly, the ATSDR states, smoking in enclosed areas such as homes and vehicles.

Aside from food and cigarette smoke, exposure through water and air are of much less concern, unless you live near processing facilities. There are EPA mandates regarding drinking water.

According to the ATSDR: "Virtually no cadmium enters your body through your skin."

Of course, the recall is based on concerns that the cadmium may leach from the glass into a child's hand, whereby it could then be ingested if the child puts their hand in their mouth. Studies are not conclusive regarding how much cadmium could be ingested this way or how harmful it could be, therefore, as a precaution, twelve million glasses have been recalled.

Fair enough.

The media has made this a top story in the news, and the government has stepped in to protect consumers, namely children. My complaint? Why not take on the known worst sources of cadmium exposure for children?

SECOND HAND SMOKE!

Legislature should be passed making it illegal, in all states, to expose children to second hand smoke!

Furthermore, warning labels regarding cadmium exposure should be applied to all products containing such. Better consumer information should be readily available regarding these risks.

A recall of a McDonald's magnitude or a promotional product with the appeal of Shrek seems to warrant all this attention. Yes, Shrek is a character in a "big picture" so to speak! But, let's not miss the real BIG PICTURE!

Current events are disheartening realities of how vulnerable we are. Not much seems to be under control in our world anymore. We must take action to protect ourselves and our families. Our children are our greatest resource and their good health is the best assurance we have for a bright future. Demanding a safe environment for them should be one of our foremost goals.

 

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