Originally published July 8, 2018
Updated December 10, 2019
Tamara Rubin is a independent advocate for consumer goods safety, and also a mother of Lead-poisoned children. She began testing consumer goods for toxicants in 2009 and was the parent-advocate responsible for finding Lead in the popular fidget spinner toys in 2017. She uses XRF testing (a scientific method used by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to test consumer goods for toxicants, including Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Arsenic. [bio link]
How toxic is this mug?
When tested with an XRF instrument, this 2014 “zak! designs” Anna & Elsa Mug (characters from Disney’s animated film, Frozen) tested positive for Lead (Pb) at 8,834 ppm. This was the Lead-level on the exterior decorative elements of the mug. Please note this is not a Disney-branded product, but is a Disney-licensed product, made by Zak! [I don’t know what store this was purchased at, but the owner lives in Souther California.]
How much Lead is “too much” Lead?
The amount of lead that is considered toxic (and illegal) in a modern item made and intended to be used by children is anything 90 ppm Lead or higher in the paint, glaze or coating, or 100 ppm or higher in the substrate. Coming in at 8,834 ppm Lead, this mug SHOULD be considered illegal (at it is obviously something children would use), but it is not technically illegal. The manufacturer’s (and regulatory agencies’) likely excuse for why this is not illegal is that it is a “coffee mug” and therefore “not intended for use by children”(!)
Continue reading below the image!
HOWEVER, given this mug has an “8+” note on the bottom (confirming it is intended to be used by children 8 and older) it actually may be a violation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act regulations for items intended for children, given the Lead level (and the fact that children are considered children by the CPSC law into their teen years – depending on the product category.)
Are new Disney-branded mugs safe?
Modern (recently-made) Disney-themed mugs that are actually produced directly by Disney (for sale in the Disney parks) rather than simply licensed for manufacture by some other company – are generally a safe bet, and often either have Lead-free glaze, or fall within in the Lead-safe range when tested with an XRF instrument [under 90 ppm Lead]. Click here to see a post with an example of that. Any vintage Disney item or Disney-themed item recently made — but manufactured by another vendor is generally NOT a safe-bet!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions!
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