Romanians will readily flirt with the danger of cadmium poisoning just to have a fleet of lovely yellow taxicabs — just like New Yorkers.
Among the first things you notice when you cross the border from Hungary to Romania is the explosion of sunflower yellow. Some of it is due to the yellow stripe in the Romanian national flag, but a more significant contributor is cadmium sulfide: the pigment in the yellow paint used on every taxicab in the country.
I haven’t been to Bucharest since 2005 and this may have changed since their admission to the regulation-happy European Union in 2007, but on my last trip, I asked a Dacia rep about it and he told me that Cadmium Yellow was still legal to use there. This is the paint you need to achieve the rich, saturated yellow you can see on the cab above.
The problem with cadmium is that it “has no constructive purpose in the human body” according to the Wikipedia page of cadmium poisoning, and that’s putting it mildly. The heavy metal will attack bones, lungs and kidneys alike with reckless abandon, leading to osteoporosis, cancer and the whole spectrum of kidney diseases.
Still, it’s a lovely color. Paired with a home-brew rear wing and a sawed-off shotgun exhaust, it transforms a lowly Dacia Logan into a wicked Bucharest cruiser.