Vintage Pyrex “Orange Fiesta” pattern casserole with fruit images on lid. 1971.
When tested with an XRF instrument this vintage cookware piece had the following readings:
Solid orange of base:
55,000 ppm Lead
It also tested positive for:
3,783 ppm Cadmium,
83 ppm Barium,
79 ppm Chromium,
47 ppm Bromine,
& for fun – 2,068 ppm Gold)!
Total content level for Lead (as measured by an XRF) in cookware is not regulated, but for reference point, toys for children are considered unsafe at 90 ppm lead and above.
“Leach testing” is now sometimes conducted (by the more responsible manufactures of newer cookware) to determine safety levels—but was not done back then – when these products were made (in the case of this and similar vintage cookware.) Leach testing would also not apply to the decorated exterior surfaces of this piece, which are the highest lead areas.
When manufacturers have public statements that say things like: “We comply and have always complied with current standards at the time of manufacture” – that is sidestepping the issue—as there were in fact no standards or limits for total contents of toxicants (like Lead) in dishware/ cookware at the time pieces like this one were manufactured!
And to be clear, I am not saying that this piece will poison the user – but I am saying that no one has proven that it will not.
It is best to avoid all sources of Lead in your home if you can, and especially sources of Lead in in your kitchen. Anyone who has these pieces in their home can vouch for the fact that the painted surface is often scratched or well worn. The question then becomes – where did those invisible bits of leaded paint wear off to… are they in your oven? Your cabinet? Your sink? Your food?
There is no safe level of Lead exposure to humans, so in the absence of any science proving these things safe to use – I would recommend removing them from the selection of functional cookware that you keep in your kitchen.
Please share and browse the photo library (click on the #XRFTesting link above) of this site to see items I have personally tested that have tested both positive and negative for lead. To learn more about XRF Testing & the potential implications of lead in cookware click HERE and HERE.
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As always, please let me know if you have any questions.