Blue plate, vintage Bauer, Los Angeles: 434,800 parts per million lead.
Even though the Lead level on this plate (when tested with an XRF instrument) was incredibly high, this particular plate tested negative with tested with a Lead Check swab (which are designed to test for lead on painted surfaces – and do not always work on glazed pottery). Why take the risk? The only way to know if lead is leaching is to send it to a lab, which can be very expensive. It’s better to have lead-free dishes and not worry!
For context: the amount of Lead (as detectible with an XRF instrument) that is considered unsafe in an item intended for use by children is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint or coating (or anything 100 ppm Lead or higher in the substrate.)
Note: The owner of this plate (a woman in her early 40s who told me she used these plates every day for most of her life and that they had belonged to her grandmother) died a couple of years after I tested this plate for her. She was a friend. She died of ALS. I don’t know that the two (her disease and the high levels of lead found in her every day dishes) are in any way connected but I do know that Lead does cause a compromised immune system which can open the door to a host of health issues that otherwise have not been directly linked to Lead exposure (yet.)
Please note: I am not saying “this particular plate will poison the people using it”! I am saying that there is no defensible reason for one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man to be in our dishes and cookware (especially at levels this high!) Period.
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