This is a list of consumer goods you may want to consider testing with an XRF. You can also look up each of the various categories of items using the search bar here on this blog and you may find that I have already tested the same item, a similar item, or other items from the same company (the results of which will be a good indicator as to whether or not your item may have lead.)
- Please note: If you are hiring a hazard assessor to test consumer goods for lead you MUST ask them if their instrument provides accurate readings in parts per million. If they do not have an instrument that does this, most of your readings will be useless — and you should definitely look for another hazard assessor. The most accurate instrument I am aware of (that has accuracy in both the low ranges and high ranges when determining lead content) is the Niton XL3T, or XL3T GOLDD+.
- Another note: If you are sending consumer goods to someone (anyone) to be tested PLEASE make sure they are well packed — as it is common for many ceramic and glass items (fine china, etc) to break in shipping!
If you have something you think I should add to this list,
please comment on the post! Thank you!
Consumer goods you may want to have tested for lead (also for cadmium, arsenic, mercury, etc.) [This list is based on popular items people have sent me to test over the years!]:
- House keys
- Car keys
- Every day dishes (send only one item, generally the smallest piece, usually a saucer, unless you have sets from many years – in which case send one from each year of production you have.)
- Fine china (same as #3 above)
- Coffee cups / mugs
- Food Packaging/ Tins & bottles (vintage or modern)
- Tea cups
- Vintage or Antique Toys (80s and 90s and earlier)
- Vintage or Antique Dolls
- Vintage Barbie Dolls
- Vintage School Equipment / Educational Aids
- Metal toys that were not marked as intended for children
- Musical instruments (or components of musical instruments)
- Kitchenware (but please double check here first I have tested so much for lead you may find it here already! Look things up by brands and key words!)
- Jewelry (costume to determine lead content, gold or silver to confirm what they are actually made of!)
- Older electrical cords or cables
- Door knobs
- Soil (not a consumer good, but follow collection instructions on this blog or of the person you are sending it to)
- Promotional items that look like toys but are not labeled as such [Example, promotional slap bracelets.]
- Bentonite clay
- Small appliances
- Appliance cords
- Pots and Pans
- Water bottles
- Wooden things that are painted
- Vintage or antique books
- Vintage records
- Decorative items
- Leather items
- Vinyl items
Things that cannot effectively be tested with an XRF — because they are toxic when they are positive for lead in parts per billion — and the threshold of detection for XRF instrumentation is in parts per million [1 part per million = 1,000 parts per billion!]:
Water, supplements, food items (such as chocolate, spices, etc.)
These types of items can only be tested using special laboratory equipment and procedures capable of detecting in parts per billion.
Things you should not bother having tested (especially if you are paying some per item to have things tested) because I can pretty much 100% guarantee they will not have lead:
- Items that are 100% stainless steel (with no plastic components or painted coatings or markings.)
- Things that are modern and natural (not recycled) wood [without paint, coatings or markings]
- New cloth items (clothing, dolls, pillows) that are marketed and made as a product for children [specifically items without buttons or zippers or other hard plastic or metal components.]
- New power cords for computers and phones.
- New toys or baby items that are manufactured by big American companies (Modern Lego, Mattel, Hasbro, HotWheels,Playmobil, Melissa & Doug, etc. I also trust “Green Toys” 110%]
- Items I have already tested and posted the results for. (If you cannot find something using the search bar, please send me an email or facebook message and I will ask you to send me a picture and I will try to find you the link to the item or a similar item or category of items.)
Thanks for reading!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
“Unexpected Lead Expert”
Tamara what is your top choice on toasters ?
I would like to know that ,too. I am looking for a new toaster and was hoping to get some idea from you Tamara 🙂
Do you own a XRS machine?
Hi Kathy, it is called an XRF instrument. I do not own one – but I rent or borrow one when I do testing. Here’s more information about that: https://tamararubin.com/2016/12/ask-tamara-what-do-you-use-to-test-for-lead/
Emily H says
I have been catching up on a lot of your posts and am so grateful for all the information. How would I go about having a few super-hero figurines from the 90’s tested? My husband had many when he was growing up and recently purchased some for our son and after all I’ve read I’m a little unsure if they are safe to let him play with them…
Are legos, playmobile, and brio trains from 1987 safe?
Hi Tamara! How do you feel about modern jewlery?
Hi – I am a fan of modern sterling silver, stainless steel or titanium with natural stones (precious or semi-precious or otherwise.) Modern gold can be contaminated with Mercury. Vintage silver is often contaminated with Lead. Silver-colored non-sterling pieces can also have Cadmium and Antimony. Here are a few examples:
Gold with Lead: https://tamararubin.com/2017/01/2003-gold-class-ring-9927-ppm-lead-90-is-unsafe-417000-ppm-gold-it-also-tested-positive-with-a-home-test-kit/
Gold with Mercury and Arsenic: https://tamararubin.com/2017/01/gold-wedding-set-c-2016-5527-ppm-mercury-1214-ppm-arsenic-gold-silver-titanium-copper/
Lead and Antimony in a silver colored necklace: https://tamararubin.com/2019/08/the-story-of-the-mermaid-necklace-that-my-son-charlie-just-had-to-have-40000-ppm-lead-renaissance-festival-find/
My Jewelry overview piece: https://tamararubin.com/2017/01/saferchoices-how-to-choose-jewelry-that-is-lead-free-cadmium-free-and-otherwise-safe-from-a-toxicant-perspective/
Hi Tamara, you mentioned “if you are sending consumer goods to someone (anyone) to be tested” – do you have any good places (labs?) to recommend that will let me send items over to do this testing? I’m having trouble locating any lab that does testing for the items you mentioned here. Thank you!
Kimberly Sky says
Have you ever tested the New Bone China Starbucks Reserve Mugs from China? I would be very curious. Also, how do you recommend we can test ourselves? What exactly do we need? Thank you!
Hi, have you tested any ceramic and/or stainless steel water dispenser crocks for use with glass jugs like the mountain valley springs 5 gallon bottle you posted about? Thanks!
Not in a thorough way … it’s on the “to do” list!
I never liked stainless steel water dispensers, or maybe I’m having bad days with them. I bought a better one from some reviews and now it’s working well
I really appreciate your time and reply. I recently purchased the Instant Pot 9-in-1 Smart Multi-Use Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker, Black, 8 Quart below:
Do you think the bottom of the lid ( which contacts the inner pot ) has any Lead? I am not able to attach a picture ,kindly let me know in case you need any additional details!
Commenting here as I would love to see results for the “Blue Diamond” non stick pans. They are advertised as “non-toxic, PFAS, lead and cadmium free.” Very curious. I bought one as I’m trying to move away from regular non stick, but I do need a “non stick” pan for crepes and other very delicate dishes that are very difficult to make in cast iron or stainless steel pans. They even have a griddler, which looks very attractive, but I’d love to see test results of their patent surface first. PLEASE look into this brand, Tamara! 🙂 If you need me to send a pan your way, let me know. Thanks!
Hi Violet – if you are up for sending me a small new pan from that brand I will test it free of charge as I have gotten several inquiries but no one has sent it in yet. I won’t be able to test it until late-December / early-January at the earliest though.
Here’s how the testing on the website normally works:
And a little more about that:
and a little more 😉
Thanks for commenting.
Long-time reader, first time commenter. I’m looking for a new phone and laptop and came across a helpful regulatory document, commonly titled Restricted/Regulated Materials Specifications, or similar, , that most of the big firms now release (HP, Dell, Lenovo, Google, Apple among others). It contains a list of toxic chemicals and the allowable thresholds in that company’s products guided both by law and, sometimes, proactive internal company policy. I thought I’d mention it for folks who come across this article. It’s very enlightening to see what’s in your products.
One thing I noted that was most computer and some phone retailers still use PVC in their power cords, and use 300ppm as a limit
for these coatings/components (Dell, HP, Lenovo/Motorola, Windows maintain this threshold). What this doesn’t indicate, however, is whether lead is commonly there in some amount at or less than 300ppm or whether it is absent and they are simply noting an upper ceiling as a regulatory formality for their contract manufacturers. Notably, Apple has a 50ppm limit on the same components and Google appears to have a 90ppm limit. I assume that may be because these companies market more cross-over products to children.
As mentioned above, in your testing have you found new computer and phone cords to be reliably free of lead–totally free? 300ppm is not a lot for adults, and may be inescapable exposure in the world as it stands. I’d like to have a safer phone and computer but the options are limited if these manufactures do in fact have up to 300ppm in their cables.
Elizabeth Bender says
Hi! Thank you for all of your work.
Can house keys and door knobs be tested with the 3M lead check test swabs?
And do you have approximate dates for “older electrical” cords.
No they cannot (in most cases).
10 years old and older.