Using Mexican Pottery?

October 21, 2014

colorful Mexican bowlsI just back from a great trip to San Miguele. I went to the Del Larosa region and shopped at a good pottery shop called JMB. They said their cookware and coffee mugs, etc. are lead free (although their website says they are below the acceptable standards). I have now read online not to drink or eat off any Mexican pottery. Love to hear people's thoughts in 2014.


By Lilley


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October 22, 20140 found this helpful

I love Mexican and Guatemalan pottery too but have never used any of what I collected on travels owing to the possibility of lead in the glazing - even from the potters who swear they follow safety standards.

So much from Latin America over the last 10-15 years has been recalled for safety - jewellery (high lead), candles (toxic fumes from scent), even candy! And all of it for being mislabelled as lead/toxin free only for it to be discovered as loaded with lead or other toxins.

Other countries with sketchy manufacturing practices are China and India - I have some lovely colanders and crockery I can't use after discovering (one of those DIY testing kits) high lead and even some low levels of radioactivity in them.


Even the dyes used on cloth can be toxic - you REALLY have to be careful when buying from certain countries.

Pretty to look at, lovely to display, but I wouldn't use any of it. Home safety was sold down the river when a lot of manufacturing was sent 'offshore' from the US (where I lived for 50 years) and the UK (where I now live).

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October 27, 20140 found this helpful

I have just read an article online about Mexican potters and the glazes they traditionally use. There seems to be a real effort to remove lead glazes from the market, not just for the hazards to the customers, but because the lead glazes are dangerous for the potters and their families as well. That being said, even if there was lead in the glaze, if you do not drink hot liquids, acidic liquids such as juices or wine, or use the dishes in the microwave, you are likely not going to have contact with lead. The most common glaze colour to be made with lead is red. Blues are usually made with cobalt, and greens with copper.


White glazes are usually made just with various types of clay and browns and greys with iron. Iron is the least harmful of the colourants. My son, who is a potter, will use only iron in his glazes, although cobalt is very commonly used by many potters. It is possible to make all the colours in non-toxic forms, as well. Anyway, if you wish to be on the safe side, never store food in your pottery. It is perfectly safe to use just about any pottery for serving something like cake or cookies or sandwiches.

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