White Pottery Barn Plate; hand crafted in Portugal.
When tested with an XRF instrument this white glazed ceramic plate came in at levels as high as 363 ppm Lead.
Dishes are not considered “items intended for use by children”…
For context, the amount of Lead that is considered illegal (and unsafe) in anything manufactured today that is intended to be used by children is 90 ppm Lead (and up) in the paint, glaze or coating and 100 ppm (and up) in the substrate (that would be the unglazed base ceramic of a dish like this.) The loophole to this legislation (the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) is dishes. Dishes are not considered to be “items intended for use by children” and so are not regulated for total Lead content (as detectable with an XRF instrument.) You can read more about that here.
Do your children use dishes? Mine certainly do! As a result it is my personal and professional opinion that the presence of heavy metal toxicants (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Arsenic, etc.) in dishes should be regulated to comply with the same strict limits (for XRF detectable total content) that are applied to items intended for use by children.
The myth that “white dishes are more likely to be Lead-free”…
There is a myth out there in the lead poisoning prevention community that WHITE ceramics are less likely to have lead. This is simply not true. I have tested hundreds of white ceramic pieces over the years and they have had varying degrees of lead (some as high as 30% Lead!) Click here to see more examples of white ceramics and their various lead levels.
Is this a Pottery Barn problem? or a “Made in Portugal” problem?
Yes. Pottery Barn (as a brand) has had a solid track record (in my personal experience testing their products) of items testing positive for at least some level of Lead (some with very high levels of Lead!) When I see a Pottery Barn piece I almost always assume it will likely be Leaded. The same goes for “Made in Portugal” decorative and functional ceramics – they are almost always very high Lead. To see more Pottery Barn items I have tested, click here. To see more “Made in Portugal” items I have tested, click here.
WHAT! It’s in everything!
Pottery Barn Ceramics!?, White Ceramics!? Portugese Ceramics?!
Is anything Lead-free?
There are dozens (and possibly hundreds – maybe even thousands!) of Lead-free dishware choices out there. To see the #LeadFree dishes I use in my home, click here. My dishes are plain white glass plates with embossed (not painted) decorative elements. You can use the search-bar on this site to look up “Lead Free Dishes” (or other similar search terms) and you will find many examples here on the blog. You can also start your search with the Index for the site by clicking here (the index starts with a list of links to Lead-free items I have tested!)
To make a contribution in support of my independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, click here.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.