Mexican pottery bowl purchased new c. 2007. Marked “Lead Free.”
This bowl tested positive for more than 300,000 ppm Lead in the glaze when tested with an XRF instrument.
Most of the Mexican pottery that I have tested that has been labeled “Lead Free” has tested positive for at least 1,000 ppm lead. This piece was unique, coming in at more than 30% Lead in the glaze! 30% Lead is about the same amount of Lead that has been found in most Leaded crystal (which has been well documented as potentially leaching dangerous amounts of Lead into the contents of the vessel.) Click here to read more about Leaded crystal.
While there is no regulation limiting the total XRF-detectable amount of Lead in the glaze of decorative or functional pottery pieces, the amount of lead that is considered toxic in an item intended for children (for context) is 90 ppm lead in the coating (glaze/paint) or 100 ppm lead in the substrate (clay base, in this case.)
Conclusion: You really can’t (yet) trust the “Lead Free” label on Mexican Pottery.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
Advice: In general we avoid any and all decorative pottery pieces regardless of the country of origin. To read more about the concern for Lead in pottery, please click this link.
Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts. [Please scroll down for more photos of this bowl.]