Decorated drinking glasses found to contain hazardous amount of toxins, says study editors

Before you get out those beautifully decorated drinking classes for the holidays, you might want to reconsider getting new dishwar.

A new study has found that decorated drinking classes -- including wine and beer cups, as well as jars -- may contain a toxic amount of lead and cadmium.

The researchers, from Britain's University of Plymouth, examined 72 new and used decorated glasses and found that 70% tested positive for both of the toxic metals.  

The lead, found in 139 cases, was detected in golf-leaf designs as well as paints of all colors.  Cadmium was found in 134, with the highest amount detected in red enamel.Furthermore, testing proved that even the rims of the glasses came back with lead levels of 1,000 higher than the acceptable limit. 

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Researchers are both "surprised" and concerned with these findings, as the toxins may prove hazardous for consumers as well as the environment. 

Lead researcher Dr. Andrew Turner explained to HealthDay News:

"The presence of hazardous elements in both the paint and glaze of decorated glassware has obvious implications for both human health and the environment. So it was a real surprise to find such high levels of lead and cadmium, both on the outside of the glassware and around the rim."

Because the researchers observed the flaking of paint throughout use, they are concerned toxins have been ingested "over long periods of time." 

"There are genuine health risks posed through ingesting such levels of the substances over a prolonged period, so this is clearly an issue that the international glassware industry needs to take action on as a matter of urgency," Turner said.

Cadmium can cause cancer and severe kidney issues, while lead can cause severe growth and developmental problems.

It should be noted that traces of such toxins extend far beyond Britain. "I would imagine the U.S. would have a similar problem, especially when many products are imported from Asia," explained Turner. Most recently, in 2016, McDonald’s recalled 12 million limited edition Shrek glasses for containing cadmium.

He maintained, "Consumers should be made aware of this, while retailers and the glass industry have the responsibility to eliminate toxic metals from decorated products." 

The study was published in the online journal of Science of the Total Environment.

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