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Warner Bros. recalls drinking glasses

Associated Press report says the collectibles had high lead, cadmium levels.

November 23, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

Warner Bros. on Monday recalled collectible glasses depicting Superman and other characters after a study found the glasses contain dangerous levels of lead.

The announcement came after the Associated Press reported that the collectible drinking glasses exceeded federal limits for lead by as much as 1,000 times. The glasses also reportedly contained cadmium, a suspected carcinogen.

The clear drinking glasses have images of superheroes from D.C. Comics, as well as Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and others from "The Wizard of Oz."

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In a statement, Warner Bros. said it believes the products meet federal safety standards, but that it would stop selling them immediately.

"While test results from an independent facility indicate that the D.C. Comics and 'The Wizard of Oz' glasses fall within the legal limits for product safety established by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, we have elected to exercise an abundance of caution and remove the products from sale on wbshop.com and at our retail store here at Warner Bros. Studios," the company said.

Fewer than 10,000 sets of the glasses have been sold, according to the Associated Press. The glassware was manufactured in China and distributed by Salt Lake City-based Vandor LLC.

Warner Bros. indicated Vandor is working on a full recall.

Vandor issued a statement on Tuesday saying previous tests of the glasses indicated they met federal safety rules, but that out of an abundance of caution, the company had contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission about initiating a recall.

The Associated Press collected numerous promotional drinking glasses from entertainment and fast-food companies and had them tested at an independent lab.

The glass with the design depicting the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" had more than 1,000 times the acceptable level of lead, according to the report, and some contained cadmium, often used to create a vibrant red color on toys.

The Associated Press launched its study after McDonald's recalled more than 12 million "Shrek" glasses this summer because of concerns about high lead levels.

The federal government regulates products differently depending on whether it determines the products are intended for children. A Vandor representative told the Associated Press the glasses in question were intended for adult collectors.

But Charles Margulis, a spokesman for the Center for Environmental Health, which monitors consumer products, pointed out that many of the glasses featured characters popular among children.

"It seems to us the tendency should be to err on the side of caution," he said. "These glasses have kid's comic book characters; they appeal to kids and should be considered kids' products."

At Legacy Comic Books in Glendale, manager Henry Mardrios said his store doesn't sell the glassware, though it does sell action figures that contain lead. Those toys come with prominent safety warnings.

His family returned the McDonald's "Shrek" glasses when the recall was announced, but he said he still has several cups and glasses at home depicting movie characters.

"We use them to drink out of," Mardrios said. "My kids love that stuff."

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