Red Vintage Pyrex Food Storage Container with Lid: 310,000 ppm Lead + 14,200 ppm Arsenic + 33,200 ppm Cadmium

This vintage Pyrex food storage container (which I bought on eBay for my book and my #MuseumOfLead collection) was positive for lead at some of the highest levels I have ever found.

It’s super interesting to note how the red is fairly solid with few blemishes and little wear, much like it would have been when new.

I have posted other examples of this very same dish (in different colors) that clearly show how the paint wears over time. And where does that lead paint end up?  In your kitchen environment? In your sink? In your dishwasher?

No one has studied the impact of this sort of source of lead, so there is not an answer to that. As a result, I subscribe to the #FirstDoNoHarm principle and also #BetterSafeThanSorry, and I do not have any leaded vintage Pyrex pieces in my home. [The clear-glass vintage Pyrex pieces are often lead-free.]

The XRF readings for this piece came in as the following levels:

Milk Glass (the white part):

  • Lead (Pb): 1212 +/- 70 ppm,
  • Cadmium (Cd): 26 +/- 11 ppm.

The red painted part (tested from the outside):

  • Lead (Pb): 310,900 +/- 30K ppm
  • Arsenic (As): 14,200 +/- 2,200 ppm
  • Cadmium (Cd): 33,200 +/- 3,300 ppm

Again, for context – the amount of lead that is considered toxic in an item manufactured for use by children is 90 ppm lead and higher in the glaze/paint/coating. There is no standard limiting the XRF detectable amount of lead in cookware, and this especially applies to vintage cookware pieces. That said I consider anything under 90 ppm “Lead Safe” and anything over 90 ppm lead a problem.

310,000 ppm lead is a DEFINITE problem, especially for a functional piece meant to be used for food preparation and storage.

As always, if you have any questions please let me know!

Thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.

Tamara Rubin

9 Responses to Red Vintage Pyrex Food Storage Container with Lid: 310,000 ppm Lead + 14,200 ppm Arsenic + 33,200 ppm Cadmium

  1. alwayspoppies June 26, 2018 at 8:42 pm #


  2. Diane June 27, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    Well, this is disappointing. I have that exact red one and also a larger blue one. How about pyrex bowls? I have a large yellow one, part of a set of several different ones. Sentimental to me.

  3. Gail July 1, 2018 at 1:33 pm #

    Does anyone know if there’s lead in the casserole corningware from the ‘70?

    • Tamara July 1, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

      Generally in the decorative patterns, yes. Look up “corningware” here on my site using the searchbar.

  4. Cheryl March 15, 2019 at 1:58 pm #

    Tears…these are my favorites. Do you know if the lids have lead as well?

  5. Martha Fowler March 17, 2019 at 5:27 pm #

    I have a whole set of red ones and turquoise ones that I inherited from my grandmother. I assume that I can not longer use them. I hate it because 3 generations have cherished them. How do you dispose of them?
    What about the pink and white mixing bowl sets?

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