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Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the unregulated-does-not-mean-safe dept.

Toys 454

theodp writes "Barred from using lead in children's jewelry because of its toxicity, some Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium in sparkling charm bracelets and shiny pendants being sold throughout the US, an AP investigation shows. Charms from 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' bracelets were measured at between 82 and 91 percent cadmium, and leached so much cadmium that they would have to be specially handled and disposed of under US environmental law if they were waste from manufacturing. Cadmium, a known carcinogen, can hinder brain development in the very young. 'There's nothing positive that you can say about this metal. It's a poison,' said the CDC's Bruce Fowler. On the CDC's priority list of 275 most hazardous substances in the environment, cadmium ranks No. 7. Jewelry industry veterans in China say cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years. Hey, at least it doesn't metabolize into GHB when the little tykes ingest it."

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454 comments

REGULATORS! (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732676)

Let's put these things together.... from TFA:

Cadmium is a known carcinogen. Like lead, it can hinder brain development in the very young, according to recent research.

and...

Some of the most troubling test results were for bracelet charms sold at Walmart, at the jewelry chain Claire's and at a dollar store.

So we've got a substance dangerous to kids in just the kind of jewelry they can afford on their allowance.

This stuff is absolutely something that needs regulation to control it. Sometimes "letting the market decide" just rolls off the bowling lane and into the gutter. No, knocking down pins in somebody else's lane doesn't count. That's why they put the gutter in.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

Simple-Simmian (710342) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732706)

Maybe if imports were actually inspected at the Border of the USA this crap would not happen. Very little of what is imported is inspected or even properly taxed.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732788)

Taxed? Inspected? Let's talk about fines. And since many of these Chinese companies don't care, let's fine China. If that country won't take responsibility for the poisons they export to us, why are we dealing with them?

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732932)

If that country won't take responsibility for the poisons they export to us, why are we dealing with them?

Because it's cheap.

Re:REGULATORS! (3, Insightful)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733186)

No, because it is highly profitable - and while that may seem like semantic quibbling, it is all the difference in the world.

Beyond that, those who profit here have two layers of insulation: First, it was made in China ("Oh, those bad, bad Chinese!", the media cooperatively wails). And secondly, since the corporation is a de facto "person" under U.S. law the individuals who make the decisions here are rarely found to be culpable/responsible; instead, the corporation picks up the tab out of small change.

Contradictorily - and presumably only because they are new to the game of capitalism - the Chinese have yet to learn that the search for profits justifies all, so when they catch a business executive pulling a stunt that harms their people, they gift said executive with that uniquely Chinese jewelry: A bullet behind the ear.

Or perhaps their government is just less corrupt than ours is.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732988)

Because China could tank our currency very easily and 'owns' A LOT of real assets in the United States.

Plus, It's the most common blunder - never get into a land war with china

(followed closely there after: never mess with a Sicilian when death is on the line)

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733220)

I was tempted to just mod you up, but I want to reiterate your point. Our debt is the greatest national security issue we face. Take for example how the US, as a creditor to Great Britain after WWII, forced GB to follow the will of the US:

The United States also put financial pressure on Great Britain to end the invasion. Eisenhower in fact ordered his Secretary of the Treasury, George M. Humphrey to prepare to sell part of the US Government's Sterling Bond holdings. ...

Britain's then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Harold Macmillan, advised his Prime Minister Anthony Eden that the United States was fully prepared to carry out this threat. He also warned his Prime Minister that Britain's foreign exchange reserves simply could not sustain a devaluation of the pound that would come after the United States' actions; and that within weeks of such a move, the country would be unable to import the food and energy supplies needed simply to sustain the population on the islands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Crisis [wikipedia.org]

Why do you think there is nothing serious done about human rights violations or trade unfairness? It is because China could simply end the US economy. Debtors are slaves.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

justindarc (1046048) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733300)

If that country won't take responsibility for the poisons they export to us, why are we dealing with them?

Who else would supply Wal-Mart with all their crap?

Re:REGULATORS! (5, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732790)

I have no numbers on the amount of goods shipped into the US on a daily basis, but I suspect that it would take a large percentage of the population to check it all in a timely manner.

It would be better to simply fine Walmart several hundred billion dollars for poisoning US citizens. Walmart forces suppliers to lower prices, and this is exactly what we get. It is Walmart's fault.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733116)

It would be better to simply fine Walmart several hundred billion dollars for poisoning US citizens. Walmart forces suppliers to lower prices, and this is exactly what we get. It is Walmart's fault.

Oh that'd work real well. Maybe as a big thank you to the government Walmart would decide to shut down and put more than a million people out of work.

Re:REGULATORS! (5, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733274)

Oh that'd work real well. Maybe as a big thank you to the government Walmart would decide to shut down and put more than a million people out of work.

That retail wouldn't go away and those workers would then likely get better paying jobs at the local businesses WM originally put out of business, which then spring back up. It really annoys me that people are too cheap to pay an extra percent or two to support local businesses where not only the workers spend their earnings in the local community, but the owners do as well. Shopping at WM simply supports the concentration of retail profit into the hands of fewer and fewer people, impoverishing far more people than it ever helps. It gets very disgusting when state and local governments lend a hand to the WalMarts of the world by offering them tax breaks, which just helps accelerate destruction of the local economy and speeds the transit of wealth out of the community -- all so people can save a dime on a box of eggs. Sick.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733182)

Hey, last I heard a large percentage of the US population was unemployed.... heh. Besides you wouldn't have to test every single package shipped. Just randomly sample products, and separate shipments based on their intended usage.

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732910)

You forget that whomever is in charge gets big money from lobbyists. The lobbyists are from companies who make BIG quarterly profits by ensuring that American jobs fly offshore, but Americans are still demanded to buy the products. This is why there isn't any taxation on Chinese imports or offshoring, but there is taxation for American companies making their stuff in house. Same reason why there are large tax incentives for businesses to move staffing overseas, while domestic companies have to pay payroll taxes.

Don't expect cadmium-laced toys for our kids to be the end of this. Hydrogen sulfate in drywall, melamine in baby food and pet products, lead and other toxic metals in toys, chips with remote destruct or monitoring abilities, and so on.

What is needed is to stop relying on another country that does not like us, but makes stuff for our kids. This won't come from popular support. It won't come from companies because they are addicted to the race to the bottom. So the pressure has to be done at the political level. Come election year, if a candidate doesn't get laws passed dealing with this, chuck them out and have someone who is able to provide minimal safety in products put in office, regardless of "D" or "R" by their names.

We need trade barriers protecting our nation and workforce. China has them in place for their own interests. Want a company in China? Their local interests have to own 51% of all ventures, and a foreigner cannot own land there. Don't forget the tariffs, so we can get revenue from somewhere other than the FED's printing press and level the playing field.

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

bfree (113420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732996)

Come election year, if a candidate doesn't get laws passed dealing with this, chuck them out and have someone who is able to provide minimal safety in products put in office, regardless of "D" or "R" by their names.

If you only choose from the "D" or "R" options then would you really expect anything to change? I think it would be far more effective to vote for anyone else other then a "D" or "R" even if that candidate doesn't get elected as if any significant percentage of people did so it would not only scare the duopoly (and those lobbying them so effectively) but would encourage others in the future to try and provide a real alternative.

Re:REGULATORS! (3, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733074)

My view is this:
Whoever is in that seat today, you're out come election time. I don't care if its D, R, L, C, or X after your name. You're out, because you are demonstrably doing a shitty job.

If you are in that seat today, get the fuck out. Let someone else try it for a while, because you suck.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732752)

wtf has this got to do with "letting the market decide"? your talking about kids braclets, they are hardly in a position to decide anything. I would suggest once the market knows these bracklets are made with a dangerous heavy metal, it will decide. fail.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732798)

I think the point is that just allowing businesses to do whatever and let their customer decide if they want to be customers is proven to be a bad idea.

The companies that import these things and the people that run them need to be treated like the criminals they are.

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732828)

you do realise the idea of free markets is not anarchy, right? it's about allowing businesses to run themselves, not do "what ever they want", there's a subtle difference some people seem to have a mental block with.

Re:REGULATORS! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732946)

you do realise the idea of free markets is not anarchy, right? it's about allowing businesses to run themselves, not do "what ever they want", there's a subtle difference some people seem to have a mental block with.

Yeah. And those people usually call themselves "libertarians".

Re:REGULATORS! (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733024)

Just for fun, can you point out the "subtle" difference as I have never ever seen it.

AFAIK libertarian free market is all about letting businesses do whatever they think they can get away with, which is identical to "whatever they want to".

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732808)

People making these bracelets with toxic metals in them are banking on that it would take months if not years for people to find this out. In this time, a company who makes it can net a lot of money.

Re:REGULATORS! (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732876)

Kids don't know enough about science to know these things are bad for them. Neither do their parents. That's why we need to get these things out of stores so something safer can take their place.

Re:REGULATORS! (4, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733102)

wtf has this got to do with "letting the market decide"? your talking about kids braclets, they are hardly in a position to decide anything. I would suggest once the market knows these bracklets are made with a dangerous heavy metal, it will decide. fail.

Sir —

The market's invisible hand rewards those selling cadmium bracelets because they are cheaper than other kinds; people buy them in the belief that they are essentially equivalent in every way but price (and, interestingly, looks). However, as per the article, these bracelets are not equivalent in their health effects - the cadmium bracelets present an enormous health hazard. I agree that if people knew the presence of cadmium and its effects, they would not buy cadmium laden bracelets. However people do not know, they have any way of knowing such a thing, and as most people would presume that such a toxin would never be in children's bracelets there is unlikely to be inquiry by most purchasers (many are also likely aware that the salesperson knows as much about the heavy metal content of the bracelet as they would know about ... virtually anything, hence there is no source of information that can be accessed with reasonable levels of effort).

With enough money one can ensure the market never "knows". A well funded company that has purchased all its competitors and has inroads into multiple marketing vectors can present whatever image they feel appropriate. Your rebuttal would seem to be premised on a society made up predominantly of informed, conscientious consumers. That is not the society we now live in. Consumers today are at best uninformed, indifferent, and short-sighted. On average they are self-indulgent, misinformed, and impulsive.

For example, look at the food production and distribution system in the United States. People who eat meat at fast food joints are consuming (albeit in small portions) sterilized faeces and ground up other humans. Heck, Monsanto's still around, and doing rather well [google.ca], in spite of well known criticism [wikipedia.org].

Alas, I would disagree with the assertion that the market can self-correct in all cases (the formula is rather simple - if the profit minus the cost of mitigation is greater than the cost of continuing to sell a bad product - continue to sell). Perhaps if the culture changes and people become conscious of their consumables we will see a change in the type of market. But for now, if the market were left to decide, and the avenues of information were paid to ameliorate criticism, there could continue to be a healthy market for cadmium laden bracelets that are cheaper than alternatives and purchased in the absence of education, awareness and forethought.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732852)

Hmmm...

A communist country makes sub-standard goods and capitalism is to blame? We should never have come to rely so heavily on them for everything. We thought it would make them love democracy. We were wrong.

Re:REGULATORS! (3, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732964)

This stuff is absolutely something that needs regulation to control it.

Half the time people cry out for more regulation, there already is regulation in place. The problem is the very entity you want to enact regulations, is inept, certainly fallible, and usually only reacts after bad news like this gets out to the consumers--who by then (presumably) would already be scared of buying this stuff.

Since rules are already in place for this sort of thing, you can't cry out "regulate it!" because it already is regulated. The best, and really only short of a miracle, is informing consumers. And consumers, foolishly believing themselves protected by the government, do not inform themselves much and thus are put at risk. A large part of me thinks that these sorts of regulations are actually *bad* ideas because people assume that god (another word for "government") with his all-knowing wisdom will make sure everything is OK. But that's not the reality, and consumers always have to try to keep themselves informed. And skeptical. There's something wrong with a market, IMO, if people walk into a BestBuy and actually trusts one of the salespeople there.

Anyway, it's not really that government itself *needs* to oversee and regulate this stuff as *someone* has to. That's a very different claim, and private organizations could easily certify products as safe as an alternative. Not certified, don't buy. Wouldn't the world be so much better if consumers informed themselves about the products they buy (and at what costs to them, financially speaking) instead of just mindlessly consuming? We'd have actual competition in the medical sector (people do to the doctor and do not even agree to a price beforehand and just pay whatever is charged...!), BestBuy would go out of business overnight once people discovered the internet, and apple would sell less Ipods due to more people buying other personal media players, so on and so forth. People might even realize that there is an alternative to Windows!

In the end the onus is on you to keep yourself informed.

Re:REGULATORS! (1)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733272)

Sometimes I wonder if the food and drug companies policed themselves, rather than the FDA, if they'd be more pro-active and careful. It's one thing for a company to pull a quick one past the government, but it's another if the company's peers' brand name depends on it.

Although it's always nice to have a reliable scapegoat. I think that's what we're paying for in many instances with our tax dollars.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733306)

The problem is industrial lobbying groups push to decrease the funding and activities of the regulators (the actual people in the field) so they don't get caught as much.

Re:REGULATORS! (1)

The TSA (1718764) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733018)

The TSA is aware of this issue and is working on finding a solution.

Note to self: add to no-fly list: cadmium, Chinese toys and toymakers.
And everyone with a glowing nose.

Re:REGULATORS! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733104)

Could you speed up the process by diverting funding from the body scanners? No security improvement, but it'll help you with your problems with the public.

Re:REGULATORS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733026)

This stuff is absolutely something that needs regulation to control it. Sometimes "letting the market decide" just rolls off the bowling lane and into the gutter. No, knocking down pins in somebody else's lane doesn't count. That's why they put the gutter in.

No Regulation is ALWAYS bad.

This is perfect example of where the free market will not only properly distribute goods and services, but also improve the humanity by removing from the gene pool consumers who make poor choices.

Re:REGULATORS, the dumbasses! (0, Flamebait)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733036)

WTF? So your dumbass logic is that Walmart wants to kill their customers and we need you, the courageous regulator to stop the murderous Walmart from going through with their evil plans!

1. The crap is made in Communist China, in a government factory.
2. GOVERNMENT agents failed to inspect it when it entered the country.
3. A private enterprise (Associated Press) discovered the dangerous toys...without government telling them how to do it.

It seems to me that in every instance Government failed and private enteprise, on its own, succeeded.

Re:REGULATORS! (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733078)

Not so loud. Maybe we can convince them to put cadmium in spandex and baseball hats. That would kill off most of Walmarts customers, and stop all the Chinese imports when they go out of business. We can get America working again, one set of spandex on a fat woman's ass at a time.

DUMBASS (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733120)

This stuff is absolutely something that needs regulation to control it

There are regulations, but nobody gives a shit. Nobody follows the ones we already have!

Why don't you go up to Washington DC and add another thousands pages and wave your hand like it matters. Nobody trusts the government. Nobody believes in the justice system. Nobody believes in God and nobody believes in your dumbass socialism either.

Everything you are telling me is a lie, and honestly, its just time to divvy up the nukes among the states and let each one be on its way. The federal government is an incompetent, bankrupt tyrant, and many of us have no use for your so called progressive dictatorship.

Re:REGULATORS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733206)

Sometimes "letting the market decide" just rolls off the bowling lane and into the gutter.

No, this is letting Darwin decide. If you're stupid enough to allow your enemy to sell toys to your children then you should go extinct, post haste.

TARIFFS! (5, Insightful)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733324)

The trade may be free, but it's sure as hell not fair:

  1. China has no environmental or labor standards. It's not fair to expect our domestic industries to compete against theirs when we have to clean up after ourselves. Here, we have elections. There, if you complain about the local river turning green and your kids' hair falling out, you get disappeared.
  2. China has been manipulating its currency, the renminbi, to subsidize its exports and cost us millions of jobs [nytimes.com].
  3. Third, the unmitigated, unregulated, and unabashed greed exhibited by Chinese manufacturers and their American partners has not only poisoned our economy with a cavalcade of cheap crap, but put the lives and well-being of our pets, our children, and ourselves in danger.

It's time to place heavy tariffs on Chinese imports until they play by the same rules as the rest of the civilized world. We shouldn't do business with Dickenonsian nightmare states.

I don't care how long you've been using it (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732724)

Jewelry industry veterans in China say cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years.

So what? If it's an extremely dangerous material it doesn't matter how long you've been using it.

Also one has to wonder if the only reason they've been using it in the Jewelry industry is because they pawn it off to suckers as gold. I wouldn't be happy either if my meal ticket for ripping people off and killing them before they could sue me was taken away.

Dead cow cult? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732740)

when did the CDC become an authority on this issue?

Just Desserts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732754)

Remember, the cadmium cares more about safety than the country to which most of our manufacturing has been exported.

I can think of something positive... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732758)

...combine it with nickel and you've got yourself a battery. Now that's positive... and negative.

Re:I can think of something positive... (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733140)

It also makes a wonderful yellow pigment for paints. On canvas, of course, not children's toys -- though it has largely been replaced by safer compounds even in artists' paints.

When life gives you lemons (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732768)

Lemons are an interesting fruit. They are incredibly sour to the point of being inedible as-is, this makes it evolutionarily disadvantaged since more tasty fruits would seemingly have an advantage. However, here we are with literally millions of lemon trees. What can we do with these sour fruits? Lemonade!

So when life hands you cadmium, make Ni-Cad batteries!

-1 Redundant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732892)

AC beat you to it.

Domestic use (-1, Troll)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732774)

I'm glad they are using it domestically. I hope they continue to poison their own population for decades to come.

Re:Domestic use (3, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732856)

Wow. You are a total and complete ass. You don't like the Chinese government, so some poor two year old should get poisoned?

Fucktard.

Re:Domestic use (0)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732978)

I don't care about the Chinese government much one way or the other. However, if the Chinese are going to create products with poison in them, it is better for the entire world if they are domestic products.

It would also be good for Walmart executives to be forced to use these products exclusively.

Re:Domestic use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733248)

Your low user-ID belies your juvenile capacity for reason and empathy... Perhaps you grew up wearing Walmart jewelry and are bitter because of the recent news?

Re:Domestic use (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732908)

More likely, They are charging us to ship us our hazardous cadmium waste under the guise of "cheap disposal" and then using it as raw material to sell product back to us by the boatload.

Much to my chagrin, in my travels, I have met a disproportionate number of criminally stupid Americans compared to criminally stupid Chinese. (Or maybe I've become hopelessly disenfranchised).

Re:Domestic use (2, Insightful)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732926)

The Chinese children are completely innocent, if there was justice in the world, it'd be the pathetic people, who care about making a few bucks at the cost of someone elses life, who should be getting posoined.

How come... (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732812)

Barred from using lead ... Chinese manufacturers have been substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium

They're not barred from using Cadmium? But they're barred from using Lead?

Wouldn't it make more sense to regulate the safety of products using the more harmful material first?

We shouldn't need a 'law' for each material... we should get one law about safety requirements for harmful materials, warning labels, and access by children.

For example, products for use by children must not contain amounts of cadmium or lead that are not protected by a safety measure.

Of course their toy's batteries might contain cadmium or lead, so it shouldn't be banned, but safety requirements at least as strict (such as shielding/containing harmful materials) should be applied to Cadmium as to lead, etc, etc.

Re:How come... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733004)

Kids haven't been exposed to Cadmium much, and there's far too many things to test. Laws are written to blacklist things that are troublesome. We'd be much better off with a whitelist of safe things to use, but that's not how the world works.

Re:Cadmium Positives (1)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732966)

That doesn't mean we should put it in toys outside the battery.

Re:Cadmium Positives (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733212)

> That doesn't mean we should put it in toys outside the battery.

Why not, if those parts are treated with the same care as batteries? Oh wait, people are just SO good with recycling those, and they KNOW they should. If it's as well sealed as a battery, and there is a mechanism for recycling those parts, fine. If they can just go into the existing battery stream, fine. But of course, people will be too stupid/fat/lazy/whatever.

Requiring this kind of protection with jewelry would make the whole thing pointless. If you have to coat it in $10 worth of actual sealed, nonporous plastic, (as Plasti-Dip [buy.com] is cheap but pretty nasty), it doesn't make sense to save $5 on the metal. At that point, silver-plated brass starts to make sense again because it's cheaper to use safer metal than to try to isolate dangerous metal. It will do no good unless somebody is watching, though.

Mal-2

Re:Cadmium Positives (4, Informative)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733138)

It also makes a very, very nice red pigment.

As an artist, I use tons of cadmium red because it has properties that no other red pigment can match. it's got great intensity, great opacity, and unlike 90% of the other reds used in paint, cadmium is actually permanent. It doesn't fade after a few months exposure to sunlight. Unlike every other red pigment out there, when you mix cadmium red with white, you don't get pink, you get light red. When mixed with other colours, it gives you very natural tones.
Classical portraiture and landscapes would be impossible without it. Ever noticed how when high school kids paint portraits, it often looks like the men are wearing pink lipstick? it's cause the kids aren't using cadmium. The synthetic pigments just don't mix right.

The thing that surprised me about this story: cadmium pigment is bloody expensive compared to all the other reds. ($75/tube vs $20/tube) why the hell aren't they using one of the much cheaper, safer reds?

Re:Cadmium Positives (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733196)

In short, cadmium has probably saved more lives than it's taken...

...mainly because it wasn't used in childrens' toys.

And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (5, Insightful)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732820)

This sort of shit is why you don't want to buy Chinese products if you can help, and never, ever, buy Chinese food products.

When buying gifts for very young children (preschool age and down) I do my best to buy toys made in Europe or the US.

I've accepted that I can't avoid Chinese merchandise in general, but I try to be selective - not for people who don't know not to eat their stuff, and not for things I plan to eat.

I read somewhere that Chinese industry is currently at a safety level - both for their workers and their products - roughly comparable to Victorian England or America. That isn't a world I want to live in if I can avoid it.

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732922)

That's a problem. I was reading somewhere (sorry, don't recall where... it was a news article months ago) about how the majority of all US peanut butter brands are filled with peanuts from China. Apparently they control the majority of the market.

Just imagine the things leaching into their soil over there...

ugh.

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732974)

Good luck with at least 80% of the worlds toys made in Shantou, China alone! Unless you make your own toys there is not much choice left...

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733056)

Good luck with at least 80% of the worlds toys made in Shantou, China alone! Unless you make your own toys there is not much choice left...

Wait... Shantou, China is where the North Pole is? Are there elves there too? Did the magnetic reversal start already? WHY AM I NOT INFORMED?!?!

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (4, Interesting)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733030)

This is the problem with our Trade Agreements. We enforce IP laws to no end, but other issues? Workers rights and safety issues never seem to come up.

The Libertarian view does not work here. Sure, we can sue Walmart for importing these toys. We can sue the maker, somehow. The problem is that if one kid dies or becomes permanently sick because of these toys, it's too late. We need regulation. We need trade agreements that not only enforce IP, but make sure that the companies are not using methods or materials banned in the US.

The same applies to any company operating in the US. Self regulation only goes so far. We had the Sego mine disaster in 2006. Who was the head of US mine safety? A mine owner. So in Europe when the same thing happened, the workers had a bunker with food, water and air to retreat too. To save money, the US did not have any regulations requiring bunkers. The workers here died.

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (1)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733054)

What I would like to know is which Chinese manufacturers are doing this. If an American manufacturer put hazardous materials in children's products, you'd bet that we would all know which manufacturers were doing this. By making the names of the companies that are doing this well known, it would give the other ones a chance to stand apart from the "OMG Chinese manufacturer..." stereotype you are painting them all with.

Just so you know, China is a big place with a lot of people. I'm pretty sure that to lump them all into the same category is unfair to at least some of them.

Re:And this is why not to buy Chinese.... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733106)

There's always been people that want to import substandard and dangerous goods to make a profit. In the past it was difficult for them to do so. Now it is very easy. That is what has changed.
It really has nothing to do with the quality and safety of Chinese goods because in general both have improved dramaticly and the really bad quality stuff doesn't get exported. We're just letting things in we wouldn't allow to be sold if they were made domesticly.

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732840)

I cannot believe US of A export this waste/crap cheaply to China and they, in-turn, export it back to us as 'goods' or trinket, which has way far superior value. Talk about innovation.

Rudolph... (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732868)

...substituting the more dangerous heavy metal cadmium

Everybody knows a proper Rudolph is made from tritium, not cadmium. Damn imitation radioactive children's toys... buy american: We use 100% Tritium in our glow in the dark toys!

YouE FAIL It (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30732878)

minutes now while Playing so it's

Rudolph the Cadmium-Nosed Reindeer (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732918)

With stories like this, and also how a whole city had been built (so some city official can say his cities economy grew at 8 percent this year) despite almost no one having moved in, questions have to be asked of trade with china.
If their government is so slack to allow the above (not to mention the melamine in milk to whiten it) and not be able to put a stop to it with out it affecting their International trade, all children goods, consumables and any other goods possibly effecting public health should be banned from China.
This probably would never happen, one of our sins is putting money before people.

Scaremongering (2, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732940)

It is a little annoying when people trot out these scary stories without completely understanding the true threats involved. Cadmium is only considered to be carcinogenic when inhaled as a vapor. You can safely touch it without any adverse effects. While not commonplace today, there was a time when tools were frequently cadmium plated. These are safe to use provided you don't do anything to remove the plating or try to polish it up.

Re:Scaremongering (5, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732982)

And you've never seen a little child putting stuff into his/her mouth and happily chewing?

The real question is: (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732960)

Do you buy it anyway?
Because I don’t see it not being sold everywhere, anytime soon.

You don’t have to buy it from China, you know?
But it’s so cheap, right? ;)

When did cheap become equal too good?
I guess by the time that simple became equal to efficient...

It didn't (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733200)

When did cheap become equal too good?

Never. However if you are one of many people who have seen their real income decrease over the past decade or so, you find yourself choosing between buying low-quality or not buying at all. And you'll have a hard time explaining that to your young child.

Itai-Itai (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30732992)

The Japanese have experience with environmental pollution from cadmium mining.

They call the results itai-itai disease, which is roughly translated into ouch-ouch. Few victims actually die from the disease, they typically commit suicide to get relief from the pain it causes.

Re:Itai-Itai (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733126)

From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

"One of the main effects of cadmium poisoning is weak and brittle bones. Spinal and leg pain is common, and a waddling gait often develops due to bone deformities caused by the cadmium. The pain eventually becomes debilitating, with fractures becoming more common as the bone weakens. Other complications include coughing, anemia, and kidney failure, leading to death."

No mention there of suicide, although you may have other sources. Sounds like just the thing for our children to be ingesting.

Well that's *very* comforting (2, Interesting)

toby (759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733034)

Jewelry industry veterans in China say cadmium has been used in domestic products there for years.

And we know the Chinese don't give a damn about poisoning [independent.co.uk] their [independent.co.uk] backyard [genetologi...derzoek.nl] or themselves. [independent.co.uk]

We'll all pay for this unforgivable, mindless destruction eventually.

Why using cadmium? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733040)

The main thing I wonder is why do they use cadmium in the first place? What's so good about it? TFA says "nothing positive about cadmium" - but I'm sure that depends on your pov. There must be something very attractive about using cadmium (it can't be just the low price, iron is also pretty cheap) that makes them use cadmium.

Re:Why using cadmium? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733100)

The main thing I wonder is why do they use cadmium in the first place? What's so good about it? TFA says "nothing positive about cadmium" - but I'm sure that depends on your pov. There must be something very attractive about using cadmium (it can't be just the low price, iron is also pretty cheap) that makes them use cadmium.

IIRC cadmium is used to make some incredibly vibrant colours in pigments [wikipedia.org].

Re:Why using cadmium? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733208)

Cadmium melts at about 600 F. Iron melts at about 2,800 F.

Re:Why using cadmium? (2, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733246)

You mean 315 C and 1540 C right? Then those numbers start making sense for the rest of the world.

Makes nice paints (2, Informative)

dickens (31040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733046)

Actually there is another nice thing you can say about cadmium. It makes lovely yellow and orange pigments. Sort of like lead white. Van Gogh may have absorbed or ingested enough to cause or exacerbate his mental disorders.

But what about all the other painters? (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733154)

Sort of like lead white. Van Gogh may have absorbed or ingested enough to cause or exacerbate his mental disorders.

I guess Van Gogh shouldn't have been eating paint, but I'm getting a bit of so much scaremongering over small exposures to things. For pete's sake, if the wingers have their way, pretty much every metal will be banned because it is -scary-. What is not scary? Water can kill you in tablespoon amounts and even salt will kill you. I got news. We are all going to die.

Re:But what about all the other painters? (1)

Obyron (615547) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733298)

You're right, we may as well all just let our kids play in traffic. Oh wait, no, you're just wrong.

Buy second hand toys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733112)

Buy second hand toys. All the dangerous bits would have been sucked or broken off. Just rinse after purchase to remove the previous child's saliva or blood. OK so some projective parts may be missing but hey nothing a bit of welding rod, nails or acrylic rod can't fix.

Fair and balanced. (4, Insightful)

nemock (1718880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733190)

When you consider the astronomical amount of products we import from China, cases like this are the rare exception ... not the norm. Problem is the media keeps digging these cases up and shining flood lights on them to reinforce the stereotype that products from China are poor quality and dangerous. Try to replace China with any country/countries and watch the prices/danger levels shoot up and quality fall. The only positive side of these stories is the public is informed of which specific products should be avoided. Problem is .. they do this only for Chinese products (and no it's not because only Chinese products have issues).

Re:Fair and balanced. (5, Interesting)

McFortner (881162) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733250)

Wow, you sound like a shill saying that. Get real, the Chinese Communist Central Committee doesn't care as long as they can get our money and get away with it. As soon as we find out, some poor middle management schmuck gets put up against the wall and shot. Remember, Lenin said "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." We sure are making the job easy for them....

silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30733204)

30 years from now when China is the top superpower, their population will be battle hardened by natural selection for the biochemical attacks that the terrorists will spring on them.

Re:silver lining (3, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733288)

And Americans will have become overly weakened because we will use medicine to keep people barely alive who have been poisoned by heavy metals.....

OMG Ponies!!! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733254)

Notice Slashdot reports on kids jewelry from China, not say, tech parts from China. How are they doing on that?

To Stop This (5, Interesting)

randallman (605329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30733316)

Whatever company outsources the labor or imports/markets the dangerous merchandise should be held accountable. So if Barbie comes back with lead paint, Mattel should pay the price.

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