About 18-20 years ago when we had the first round of Lead scare, I saw a testing kit for sale. I know someone out there knows where to buy them now. Can you tell me where to get one? IS IT MADE IN CHINA? I will tell you what I saw in the 99 cent store that reminded me of the need for one. They had some nice coffee mugs and I was going to make some 'Hot cocoa gift mugs' UNTIL I saw a sticker on a couple of them that said 'Warning, not made for food'. There were dozens of them and only a few had the warning sticker on them.
I have received a few mugs as gifts over the years and now wonder how safe they were/are to use? Some people are just now starting to realize the danger of lead poisoning (my daughter said someone told her this week that "Oh,that little bit won't hurt anyone") Her answer was "I'm not taken a chance with MY granddaughter! She is looking to buy a test kit to test all of the toys and furniture she has bought over the last 4 years.Thanks for your help.
Here is an article put out by the CPSC regarding Home Lead Test Kits:
Its something to consider amidst the new lead scare.
I saw lead testing kits in the toy section when Christmas shopping recently.
I have heard that the lead test kits were ineffective on toys because you need to actually scrape the paint off the toy to test it. That information from the CPSC seems to back that up.
A scary time to have children, to be sure!
I'm a ceramic artist by trade, so I know more than the average person about glazes & firing techniques & let me tell you this, I would NEVER buy ANY ceramic object that is made to serve food (mugs, bowls, plates etc) from Mexico, or China or from ANY other third world or developing country. (That means don't buy glazed pottery made for food from other countries like Romania, Turkey, Guatemala etc.) I will tell you this: It's not worth the money you'll save! EVEN IF it says it's okay for food... I wouldn't believe it, or risk it! ESPECIALLY if it's something you'll use with an "acid based" food: Like COFFEE or TEA in a coffee cup, That you'd drink from day after day, Or something tomato based (like soup or pasta sauces)... It's the ACID that really brings the lead out of the glaze! I read somewhere about a man who got a sore on his lip that wouldn't heal with other "lead poisoning" symptoms & the doctor figured out it was from drinking coffee daily from a coffee cup (he'd bought in Mexico) with a lead glaze! ... I had a friend that had a truly beautiful set of coffee mugs that had a "drip finish" & I know that when glazes mix together including the way it "dripped" down the side of the mug into another color that it wasn't "Food Safe"... But she refused to believe me. She bought them from Mexico herself while on vacation & drank coffee from them every day... YIKES!
Lead builds up in your system, bit by bit & never leaves... It's not worth risking your or your families health!
When an artist like me makes pottery, The glazes made for food are clearly marked "Safe for Food" or "Contains Lead NOT for food!" So I wouldn't worry about your local American potter. These artists (like me) will go to great lengths to make sure you have a healthy, food safe piece of pottery, but beware of ANY imported ceramic ware, ESPECIALLY pottery from China. And don't think the US government has the time to test the glazes... not with ALL the pottery imported from all over the world! They just take the importers word for it...
If you have something you're not sure of: First off NEVER drink anything with an acid pH (coffee, tea or cola) from it. But to be safe, just use it as a flower vase, or as a candle holder!... If it's a bowl or a plate, it's probably okay to use it for crackers & cheese or bread, But to be safe, use a paper doily to line the plate with or a piece of plastic wrap.
---> Here's my simple "Do I buy it?" Glaze rule: If it's made in the US, the UK, France, or Germany... I'll buy it, NO problem. If it's from Italy or Greece, South America or any other developed country... I'll ask a few questions. BUT, if it's from China or a developing or 3rd world country.. I leave it on the shelf! Buy absolutely NO pottery (made for food) from China or from the dollar store! (unless you plan to cover it first with plastic wrap!)
---> If you see a plate or cup at a Discount or dollar store that's not marked correctly & some say "not for food" & others are not marked correctly then, Tell the store manager, But, far better: Take the time to e-mail or call the main store headquarters. Just Google them & Let them know that their store is selling possible lead items made for food. With all of the "hoopla" about lead in Chinese products these days, maybe they'll actually care enough to take them off their shelves.
If you have any more questions about lead in glaze feel free to send me a message to my ThriftyFun account.
* But the main idea is simple: BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY! & Buy American & from your Local area whenever possible, this goes for food as well as other wares. Support your local Farmers Market! This way, you'll be buying DIRECTLY from the potter, the maker or grower who really knows & cares about his or her product!
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