Ask Tamara: What Dishes Do You Use In Your Home?

 AskTamaraAsk Tamara

Question:  “What dishes do you use in your home every day?” [I get this question several times a day it seems!]

Answer: To help keep our kitchen (and the food we feed our children!) lead-free, we have a combination of dishes that we have tested and found to be safe – from stainless steel and titanium camping-ware to white glass Corelle.  We also have a few other pieces of white ceramic-ware that I have tested and confirmed lead-free with an XRF.  The common thcorelleeme is simplicity.  The fewer decorative elements the less likely new/ modern dishes are to have lead, arsenic or cadmium.  [That said, please note that fancy antique/vintage white fine china can have VERY HIGH levels of lead…so white ceramic is not a guarantee of lead-free dishes.]

We have purchased most of our dishes at either Ikea, K-mart, New Seasons Market or REI – but some of them can also be found on Amazon.  I have included the links to our dishes (or dishes very similar to ours that I would confidently use with my family) below.

Plain White Corelle:  All of the plain white Corelle glass dishes I have tested have been lead-free. Point to note: keep the glass dishes (plates and bowls) and throw out the ceramic mugs that come with this 20-piece set (if you want to live completely lead-free). Or (I just found out!) you can buy the 12-piece set with no mugs! All of the coffee mugs I have tested frocorelle2m these sets have had at least some lead in them (the mugs are made of a different material than the plates). Some of the modern colored designs have also been lead-free, but the same designs are not consistently available so I can’t make a recommendation for currently available designs that include colorful elements.

Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links where a purchase made
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Titanium & Stainless Campware: While the Corelle is super durable (believe me, ours has survived four rowdy boys and all of their friends), titanium and stainless campware takes lead-free durability ustainless1p a notch.  Bonus:  You have dishes you can take with you when you go camping!  The links here are not the exact ones we have in our home but they are very close to it. We have stainless plates, bowls and cups as well as stainless food storage containers.  When choosing metal dishware, make sure it is not adorned or decorated in any way. Even the markings of product logos (if painted on instead of stamped or etched into the metal) can be lead containing paint as lead paint sticks to metal better than other paints.  My advice: AVOID any with painted-on logos or markings. Enamel coated metal camping dishware also often has lead in the enamel, so I avoid those as well.

Here are some campware options I found on Amazon that are the same or similar to what we use in our home:

Please note: almost ALL vintage china (and a lot of modern china) that I have tested (with an XRF) has had at least some lead and most has been at levels that are hundreds or thousands of times the current acceptable level (the level set as “acceptable” by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC]) of lead for items manufactured and sold as intended for children.  I have personally tested thousands of dishes in the past 8 years! Dishes are not considered “items intended for children” so can still legally have total lead content at levels above what is considered safe for kids.  The only dishes that legally have to have coatings or glazes below 90 parts per million (90 ppm) lead (the CPSC standard) are dishes sold as children’s (or baby) dish sets.

Also Very Important: I am not saying that your specific vintage or other leaded china will poison you. (I rarely say that!) What I am saying is that there should be no lead in our kitchens at all.  If we can make informed choices as consumers – and choose lead-free options, why wouldn’t we want to do that?  Lead is one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man and does not belong anywhere in our kitchens or on our dining tables. Period.

Tamara Rubin
Mother of Lead Poisoned Children
Unexpected Lead Expert

To read more about the potential impact of lead in dishware… click here.

Affiliate link disclosure: If you choose to purchase any items after clicking the Amazon links above, Amazon pays me a small kick back as a thank you for sending business their way. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and helps support this website, allowing me to keep sharing information about childhood lead poisoning prevention (as well as making it possible for me to keep sharing about safe products for your home and family) ... Sharing this information in turn helps families everywhere protect their children from potential environmental toxicity in their homes. I only link to products that are the same as (or very similar to) ones that I either have direct personal experience with in my home or that I have personally tested with an XRF Instrument and found to be lead-safe or lead-free. December 2016

19 Responses to Ask Tamara: What Dishes Do You Use In Your Home?

  1. Danielle December 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

    Hi, do you ever test items for people? I’ve been given antique China from my grandmother.

  2. Adianez Alfonso December 20, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi. Is lead and other questionable materials in the clay or material itself or the glaze? Undecided between 2 IKEA sets one feldspar mo glaze the other stoneware with a glaze. The stoneware says specifically no lead or cadmium, but when I wrote them they said none of their dishware has lead or cadmium.
    Thanks for your work!!!

  3. Sherrell December 20, 2016 at 9:59 pm #

    What is the risk for exposure from a (likely) lead set of antique China stored and displayed, but not eaten from?

  4. Sherine December 21, 2016 at 4:06 am #

    What is your opinion of testing plates with swabs? Is it accurate? I would like to test our plates (but cannot afford the XRF).

  5. Allison December 22, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

    We have Macy’s HOTEL collection bone china 2011, do you know lead info on these? Or Starbucks coffee mugs 2001-now….thanks!

  6. Jenn P December 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    I currently have a mix of corelle that are 30+ years and 10+ years old. They are not plain white but I can’t afford to replace them. I did get my son lead free marbles for Christmas!

  7. Debbie December 25, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    So glad you are sharing this information. Dinnerware is how we were exposed to lead and we warn everyone about it. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Kimberly January 14, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    I personally tested Corelle white only dinnerware a few years ago by using 3M lead swab. I left the orange liquid on over night. It turned a light pink. My Husband called 3M and asked what did this mean. They said it appears there maybe lead in the product ? What is more accurate the 3M liquid or your way of testing ? I would truly be grateful for a response.


    • Tamara January 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

      All of the newer plain white Corelle I have tested has been lead-free – with an XRF and with a swab test. With the XRF “non-detect” for lead. Is there a chance you tested some older dishes? If it turns pink at all there is lead. The liquid is orange if there is no lead. It is possible that there is lead in your house-dust (if you live in an older home) and that the pink was the result of dust settling on the plate over night. I really can’t say without testing the exact same plate you tested.

      • Tamara January 14, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

        In general the material used in the creation of the Corelle plates would not test positive with a swab at all (the swabs are designed to test paint – not glass) – so it really seems likely that the lead was from another source (like your house dust) and I would seriously consider getting a dust-wipe sample test done in your home (especially if it is a home built before 1981.)

        • Kimberly February 10, 2017 at 8:43 pm #

          I am the mother of three sons and Your answer has given me peace.My youngest son does not like his food touching. I look forward to purchasing Corelle plain white divided plates . Thank You for answering my question. May God bless you and your very important 🙂

          • Kimberly February 22, 2017 at 9:49 am #

            mission in this Life 🙂

  9. Meerah February 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    Thanks for the info. What do you think of the Corelle Boutique white dishes? They are plain white with embossed design on them. I am interested in buying the Cherish set if it’s lead free. Do you have info on that? Thank you!

  10. Cathy February 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

    Ikea’s website says “No lead and cadmium added” for some of the white ceramic dishware/mugs (I’m looking specifically for the Vardera and Myndig lines and some 365 bowls). Is it safe to assume that means that it is lead-free although the words don’t specifically say so? Other lead-free dishware like HF Coors seem to use the verbiage 100% lead-free. Thanks in advance!

    • Adianez Alfonso February 21, 2017 at 9:43 pm #

      Very good question. I have been considering both. But HF is about $10 each as opposed to Ikea’s $3

  11. Suki February 11, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Tamara, I’m also looking into buying the Corelle boutique cherish set…..please let me know if it’s lead free. Also, what cutlery would you recommend that is safe to use. Any information would be helpful. Thanks in advance

  12. Kirsten March 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

    Hi Tamara,
    I can’t wait to see more dishware listed that you’ve found to be lead free!

  13. TIFFANY JONAH March 16, 2017 at 8:02 am #

    Hello, how about fiestaware? Thank you!

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