When this Franciscan Desert Rose Earthenware China (Made in the USA, c. 1941 and later) was tested with an XRF instrument it came in at 122,200 +/- 5,000 ppm lead. It is negative for Cd (cadmium), As (arsenic) and Hg (mercury), however that is one heck of a lot of lead to be found in the glaze of a dish intended to be used for food (over 12% lead!)
For context: There is currently no federal standard for an allowable limit of XRF detectable lead in consumer goods like dishware. The only federal standard for XRF detectable lead is in items manufactured for and intended to be used by children. The allowable limits are 90 ppm lead in the coating and 100 ppm in the substrate (in the case of dishes, if they were children’s dishes, this would be the ceramic base of the dish, vs. the glaze.)
Franciscan China is generally (and consistently) VERY high lead. I highly recommend not having any in your home and not ever using for food use purposes. If you want to keep one piece on hand to remind you of your grandmother (or of a time gone by!) please consider putting it in a shadow box with a glass cover and please hide a note behind the dish (in case anyone ever breaks the dish out of the shadow box) that the item is high lead and should not be used for food consumption purposes.
Hands should also be thoroughly washed after handling these dishes as they most often also test positive with a reactive agent test (like a LeadCheck swab), which means there is available lead on the surface of the dish and that can easily wear off on your hands. MOST dishes will NOT test positive with a LeadCheck swab, but the handmade and handprinted Franciscan brand dishes are one of the main brands that consistently does test positive with this testing method. [Read more here: Can I test my dishes with a LeadCheck swab?]
As always, please let me know if you have any questions.
I love testing specific items that people want me to test and in order to do that need contributions to cover the cost of purchasing these items (as well as to cover the costs related to testing these items.) If you want to support my independent consumer goods testing and lead poisoning prevention advocacy work, please consider chipping in something (any amount helps) at this link. IF you want me to test a specific item that will cost me less than $25 to purchase, please chip in at least $45 and send me a note about what you would like me to test and I will see if I can find it (there are a lot of antique shops on the blocks surrounding my home) and after I am able to test it (it sometimes takes me between 4 and 8 weeks to have items tested] I will post the test results here on my blog to share with everyone. If the item turns out to be lead-free I can either offer it as a prize for a free giveaway on Facebook or send it to you (if you can also help with shipping.) If the item is leaded and is a popular and known brand I would love to be able to hold onto it for my “Museum of Lead” (and to use in my upcoming book!)